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Full text of "CMH Pub 11-6 Rearming The French"

REALIZATION OF FRENCH HOPES. General Henri Giraud watches as 
the first convoy bearing mat materiel for his forces approaches North Africa. 



UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II 

Special Studies 
REARMING THE FRENCH 




CENTER OE MILITARY H1ST0R Y 
UNITED STA TES ARMY 
WASHINGTON, D.C, I9m 



Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 57-60000 



First Primed 1957 - CMH Pub 11-6 



For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, VS. Government Printiog OflW 
Washington, D.C. 20402 



UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II 
Kent Roberts Greenfield, General Editor 



Columbia University 

Samuel Flagg Bemis 
Yale University 

Gordon A. Craig 
Princeton University 

Elmer Ellis 
University of Missouri 

T. Harry Williams 



Advisory Committee 

(As of 30 June 1956) 

Col. Joseph C. Stewart 
Continental Army Command 

Brig, Gen, Thomas W. Dunn 
Army War College 

Brig. Gen, William F. Train 
Command and General Staff College 

Maj. Gen. Robert P. Hollis 
Industrial College of the Armed Forces 



Col. Thomas D. Stamps 
United States Military Academy 



Office of the Chief of Military History 
Maj : Gen. John H. Stokes, Jr., Chief 



Chief Historian 

Chief, War Histories Division 

Chief, Editorial and Publication Division 

Editor in Chief 

Chief 3 Cartographic Branch 

Chief, Photographic Branch 



Kent Roberts Greenfield 
Col. Ridgway P. Smith, Jr. 
Lt. Col, E. E. Steck 
Joseph R. Friedman 
Maj. James F. Holly 
Margaret E. Tackley 



V 



. to Those Who Served 



Foreword 



Every thoughtful American interested in the history of our present mutual 
assistance program should find this a profitable and illuminating book. In 
rearming the French the War Department and the U.S. Army became agents 
of an Allied policy which not only enabled this country to further a friendship 
for France that dated from the Revolution, but in addition served the military 
interests of both nations. It equipped Frenchmen with the means to fight and 
by so doing increased at minimum cost the forces available to the United Nations. 
The Army can take pride in the success with which it administered a policy 
involving both political and military matters. The policy of mutual aid has 
since been extended throughout the world with the Army again designated 
as the agency principally responsible for its administration. The present thorough 
and objective study of an early large-scale American experiment with mutual 
aid should therefore be highly instructive to all concerned. 



Washington, D.C. 
30 August 1956 



JOHN H. STOKES 

Maj. Gen., U.S.A. 

Chief of Military History 



ix 



Introductory Note 



The original intent of the European Theater of Operations series was to 
portray the history of ground combat as carried on by U.S. forces in western 
and central Europe during World War II. Very early in the planning devoted 
to this series it became apparent that two subjects were of such grand import 
and interest as to require separate treatment. For this reason volumes were 
prepared and published on the history of the supreme command and the logistical 
support of the U.S. armies that fought in the European Theater of Operations, 
Research for these two volumes unraveled one continuing but tangled thread 
which did not quite fit into the fabric of the series as a whole. This was the 
problem posed by the French national forces serving under U.S. command and 
by the rearmament of these forces to permit their effective employment in the 
fight for the liberation of their homeland. The problems of command and 
decision involved in French rearmament and in the logistic support furnished 
to the French forces reached outside of the European Theater of Operations. 
It was decided, therefore, to devote a special study to the history of French 
rearmament. This decision was supported by the fact that the United States 
had once again embarked on the business of supplying weapons and other material 
assistance to potential Allies, and that such military assistance appeared to have 
become a continuing feature of U.S. policy. 

An author was available who had exceptional qualifications for a task 
recognized from the first as complex and delicate. A scholar who had studied 
history at the Lycee of Limoges, France, and received his Ph.D. at Western 
Reserve University, Marcel Vigneras had served in the French Army in both 
World Wars, although in World War II seconded to duty as an American citizen 
with the Office of Strategic Services in 1943. He was a member of the faculty 
at Smith College before World War II. At the close of the war he joined the 
Historical Division, European Theater of Operations, then in France. At present 
Dr. Vigneras is continuing research on military problems as a member of the 
Operations Research Office, from which he was granted leave to complete the 
present volume. 

HUGH M. COLE 

Chief, European Section, 1947-1952 



x 



Preface 



This volume tells how the French forces were rearmed from the time they 
re-entered World War II after their temporary eclipse from the battlefields of 
Europe. The text inescapably focuses attention on the part played by America 
in the undertaking if for no other reason than that the undertaking itself, while 
shared between the United States and the United Kingdom, was largely American. 

The purpose of this volume is twofold. It is a historical account of a sizable 
and laborious enterprise that enabled a friendly military establishment in dire 
need of assistance to take its place among the forces aligned against the Axis. 
It is intended also to serve as a guide for the solution of problems likely to arise 
out of similar future enterprises. While this volume is not primarily concerned 
with operational matters, it contains sufficient operational material to establish 
the extent of the contribution made by the rearmed French forces toward the 
final victory of the United Nations. The reader is warned that only such French 
political developments that had a definite influence on the course of rearmament 
are discussed, and the discussion is limited to that sufficient to place the evolution 
of French rearmament in its proper perspective. 

Rearming the French is the product of co-operative effort and it is a pleasure 
to acknowledge indebtedness to the many individuals, too numerous to be listed 
here, who offered advice and help. W'hile I express my deep appreciation to 
them, I wish to emphasize that they are in no way responsible for the handling 
of the material used, or for errors of fact or presentation. 

I am especially grateful to those French and U.S. officers who granted me 
interviews which enabled me to clarify a number of points. Some provided me 
with information from their private files. Others were kind enough to read 
part or all-of the manuscript. Their names have been listed in the Bibliographical 
Note. 

Several members of the Office of the Chief of Military History were par- 
ticularly helpful in suggesting improvements. I should like to thank Dr. Gordon 
A. Harrison for generous and skillful assistance in achieving better organization 
and clarity of text; Col. Leo J. Meyer for valuable comments on the substance 
of the preliminary draft; Dr. George F. Howe for guidance in interpreting 
controversial points; finally Dr. Kent Roberts Greenfield for his critical review 
of the revised draft. 

For assistance in exploring the tons of files held by the War Department, 
I am indebted to Mr. Royce Thompson, of the European Section, OCMH, 

xi 



Mrs. Blanche Moore and Mr. Albert Whitt, of the Departmental Records Branch, 
AGO, Mrs. Mary Greathouse, of the Historical Section, G-3, Mr. Israel Wice 
and members of his Reference Branch staff in OCMH. 

The task of extracting pertinent data was greatly facilitated by the diligent 
help of Miss Katharine C. Jenkins. I am indebted to her for assembling and 
analyzing the material now appearing in the section on French assistance to 
the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, and in the chapter on the 
Joint Rearmament Committee. 

Miss Ruth Stout edited the entire manuscript and her suggestions greatly 



contributed to improving the narrative. The excellent map is the work of 
Mr. Wsevolod Aglaimoff, Deputy Chief Historian for Cartography. Miss 
Margaret E. Tackley selected and prepared the illustrative material. The copy 
editors were Mrs. Marion P. Grimes and Mr. Arthur C. Henne. 

Rearming the French was prepared at the suggestion and under the general 
direction of Dr. Hugh M. Cole, Chief of the European Theater Section. It 
was my good fortune to have his wise and learned counsel throughout the period 
of research and writing, 

30 August 1956 MARCEL VIGNERAS 

Washington, D. C. 



xii 



Contents 



Chapter Page 

PROLOGUE 1 

French Assistance to the A.E.F. in World War I 1 

The American Decision To Rearm the French in World War II 6 

PART ONE 

The North African Forces 

I. EARLY ATTEMPTS TO FORMULATE A REARMAMENT 

PROGRAM 21 

Procedures 21 

Initial Groping Toward a Policy 23 

Setting Up the Joint Rearmament Committee 25 

General Giraud Sends a Military Mission to Washington 26 

Emergency Provision of Equipment 27 

General Giraud Eyes the Larger Program 29 

The Deadlock Over a Firm Plan 30 

II. THE ANFA AGREEMENT 33 

Franco- Anglo- American Conversations 33 

President Roosevelt and General Giraud Negotiate an Agreement .... 36 

Clarification of the Agreement 38 

III. PHASE I OF THE PROGRAM (JANUARY-JULY 1943). . . 45 

Phase I Is Launched 45 

The CCS Agree on a Rearmament Formula 48 

Implementing Phase I 59 

IV. EARLY ORGANIZATIONAL PROBLEMS 62 

AFH(l Spells Out Rearmament Policies 62 

Allied Assistance in Handling Materiel 64 

The French Organize an Expeditionary Corps 69 

V. PHASE II OF THE PROGRAM (JULY-AUGUST 1943) ... 74 

Negotiations 74 

Political Complications 78 

Implementing Phase II 82 

Fusion of the Giraud and de Gaulle Forces 86 

Results of Phases I and II 89 



Xlll 



Chapter Page 
VI. PHASE III OF THE PROGRAM (MID-AUGUST-NOVEMBER 

1943) 91 

The 15 August Plan 91 

French Political Situation Threatens Program 97 

Implementing Phase III 99 

VII. THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME (NOVEMBER 1943-FEBRU- 

ARY 1944): I 104 

"La Bataille des Services" 104 

The 1st DM I Incident 116 

Cutback of the Program — The 23 January Plan 121 

VIII. THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME (NOVEMBER 1943-FEBRU- 

ARY 1944): II 130 

The French Reorganize Their Supply System 1 30 

Supply and Maintenance of the Expeditionary Forces . . . 138 

Supply Situation — End of January 1944 146 

IX. PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM (FEBRUARY-OCTOBER 

1944) I: BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES 148 

Rearmament Operations Resume 148 

Control Over the French Forces 149 

Reorganization of the French High Command 151 

Franco- American Relations 153 

The 23 January Plan Becomes the Basis of Phase IV 155 

Secondary Programs 158 

X. PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM (FEBRUARY-OCTOBER 

1944) II: IMPLEMENTATION 163 

Equipping the Units on the ANVIL Troop List 163 

Service Troops and the Lack of Technicians 165 

Shortages of Equipment 169 

SCAMA's Role During Phase IV 174 

Repossession of U.S. Equipment 176 

Disposal of British Equipment 1 77 

XI. THE NORTH AFRICAN FORCES IN ACTION 178 

Italy and Other Battlegrounds in the Mediterranean 178 

France 1 82 

Logistical Support of the French ANVIL Forces 186 

The North African Rearmament Program Ends 1 89 

XII. REARMING THE FRENCH AIR FORCE 195 

XIII. REHABILITATING THE FRENCH NAVY 214 



XIV 



Chapter Page 

XIV. LIAISON, LANGUAGE, AND TRAINING PROBLEMS ... 227 

Liaison and the Language Barrier 227 

Training 230 

XV. CONTROVERSY OVER SUBSTITUTE WEAPONS 241 

Artillery 242 

Tanks 244 

Small Infantry Weapons 246 

XVI. OTHER MATERIAL PROBLEMS 254 

Food 254 

Clothing 258 

Special Supplies 260 

Miscellaneous Equipment 264 

Accounting .. 266 

XVII. AGENCIES HANDLING REARMAMENT 271 

The Joint Rearmament Committee 271 

The Joint Air Commission 285 

SCAMA and Stock Control Section 288 

French Training Section 293 

PART TWO 

The Metropolitan Forces 

XVIII. INITIAL ASSISTANCE 299 

Supply of the Resistance Forces 299 

Employment of French Liberated Manpower 306 

XIX. ARMING LIBERATED MANPOWER 319 

Interim Organization and Equipping of Labor and Internal Security Units. 319 

The Liberated Manpower and Metropolitan Programs 328 

XX. THE LIBERATED MANPOWER AND METROPOLITAN 

PROGRAMS IN OPERATION 339 

Implementing the Liberated Manpower Program 339 

Implementing the Metropolitan Program 344 

Revising the Metropolitan Program 348 

Carrying Out the Revised Program 354 

XXI. THE REARMAMENT OPERATIONS END 361 

Suspension of the Metropolitan Program 361 

Political Developments Doom Rearmament 367 



xv 



Chapter Page 
XXII. RE-EQUIPPING THE FRENCH AIR FORGE AND FRENCH 

NAVY 373 

The Air Force 373 

The Navy 377 

XXIII. REARMAMENT DIVISION, SHAEF MISSION TO FRANCE . . 381 

Membership, Organization, and Operation 381 

Training Under Inspection Group 388 

XXIV. FRENCH PLANS FOR A FAR EAST EXPEDITIONARY 

CORPS 391 

CONCLUSION 400 

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 405 

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS 411 

GLOSSARY OF CODE NAMES 414 

INDEX 417 

Tables 

No. 

1. Equipment Furnished American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, 

by Type and Supplying Country: 6 April 1917-11 November 1918 . , 4 

2. Equipment, by Type, Available to the North African Forces: 1 October 

1942 18 

3. American- and British-Equipped Squadrons of the FAF: December 

1943) 206 

4. Quantities of Equipment Packaged by OSS in the United Kingdom and 

Airdropped into France: January-October 1944 307 

5. Major Items of Equipment Furnished by the United States to the French 

Forces 402 

Charts 

1. Organization of the French High Command in North Africa: 1 April 1943. 66 

2. Position of JRC and Related Agencies Within the Allied Command Struc- 

ture: 1 April 1944 277 

3. Internal Organization of the Joint Rearmament Committee: 1 April 1944 . 278 

4. SCAMA: Internal Organization and Co-ordination With Other Agencies. 289 

5. Position of Rearmament Division in SHAEF: 1 January 1945 383 

6. The Rearmament Division, SHAEF Mission to France: March 1945 . . 384 



xvi 



Map 



Page 



Illustrations 

Realization of French Hopes Frontispiece 

Victory Parade, Paris, 1918 7 

Lt. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower 26 

General George C. Marshall 27 

Meeting at Casablanca, 24 January 1943 37 

U.S. Vehicles for North African Forces 46 

General Eisenhower Delivering an Address 58 

Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark Presenting Newly Arrived U.S. Equipment .... 59 

Inspecting U.S. Equipment 64 

Vehicle Assembly Line 67 

Reviewing American Troops 68 

Col. Ernest A. Suttles 69 

General Alphonse Juin 93 

Goumiers of the 9th Colonial Infantry Division 102 

Goumiers of the 4th Group of Tabors 112 

Spahis in North Africa 114 

Conference in Algiers 120 

Siena, Italy 179 

9th Colonial Infantry Division 180 

Troops Entering Portoferraio, Elba 181 

French 2d Armored Division 184 

Maj. Gen. Jacques Leclerc 184 

Street Fighting in Marseille . 185 

Reviewing French Troops in Liberation Ceremony, Marseille 185 

Victory Parade Through the Streets of Paris 192 

P-40 Warhawks for the Lafayette Escadrille 197 

Unloading P-38 Fighter Planes 199 

French Submarine, Casablanca Harbor 215 

Battleship Richelieu Passing Under Manhattan Bridge 216 

Battleship Jean Bart at Casablanca 219 

Firing a 105-mm. Howitzer 232 

U.S. Instructor Demonstrating the Use of Signal Equipment 233 

Maj. Gen, Alexander M. Patch 240 

Tank Destroyer for the French 242 

French Tank Crew With U.S. Light Tank M5 244 

2d Moroccan Infantry Division Men Unloading American Rations .... 256 

French Wacs Assembling on the Beach 261 



xvu 



Page 

Members of the Joint Rearmament Committee 273 

Brig. Gen. Harold F. Loomis 276 

French Forces of the Interior 305 

Insignia of 1st French Army and Its Major Components 352 

Battleship Strasbourg 378 

Rearmament Division, SHAEF Mission to France 382 

The illustrations are from the files of the Department of Defense except for those 
from the following sources: 

Service Cinematographique des Armies, Frontispiece. 
National Archives, page 7. 
Acme Photograph, page 216. 



XVlll 



Prologue 



In October 1942 Maj. Gen. Mark W. 
Clark, representing the U.S. Army, and 
Brig. Gen. Charles Mast, spokesman for 
General Henri Giraud, met secretly in 
Cherchel, seventy-five miles west of Algiers. 
The subject of their conversations was a 
momentous one — the imminent re-entry of 
French North Africa into the war. Gen- 
eral Clark, acting on instructions from 
President Roosevelt, gave positive as- 
surances to General Mast that the United 
States would furnish the equipment neces- 
sary to outfit the North African forces. 1 

Clark's commitment was timely, for 
Anglo-American forces were about to land 
in northwest Africa. More important, it 
heralded an event of great significance : the 
forthcoming assumption, by the United 
States, of direct responsibility for re- 
equipping the French armed forces. The 
British had been discharging this responsi- 
bility by maintaining the small band of 
Frenchmen stubbornly fighting on their side 
and under their control since mid- 1940. 

Before World War II had ended, the 
Americans had fully equipped and trained 
eight French divisions in North Africa, 
partially outfitted and trained three more in 
France, furnished equipment for nineteen 
air squadrons, and carried out an extensive 
rehabilitation program for the French Navy. 
They had supplied some 1,400 aircraft, 
160,000 rifles and carbines, 30,000 machine 
guns, 3,000 artillery guns, 5,000 tanks and 

1 These instructions were relayed in Msg R-2080, 
Gen George C. Marshall to Lt Gen Dwight D. 
Eisenhower, 17 Oct 42, CM-OUT 5682. (See 
| Bibliographical Note.l ) "Clark . . . should state . . . 
the U.S. will furnish equipment for French Forces 
which will operate against the Axis." 



self-propelled weapons, and 51,000,000 
rounds of ammunition. 

An occurrence of historic import was thus 
re-enacted in reverse. Twice France had 
similarly undertaken to assist an unprepared 
America at war. In 1781, in addition to 
sending an expeditionary corps to help the 
young colonies in their fight for independ- 
ence, France supplied weapons and materiel 
to the infant Continental Army. Much 
later, in World War I. France, herself at 
war with Germany, again provided materiel 
to the American Expeditionary Forces 
(A.E.F.) sent to the European continent. 
In that second episode, the nature and ex- 
tent of the help rendered were vastly differ- 
ent from what they were to be in World 
War II. Yet the parallel is striking enough 
to warrant, for the sake of historical com- 
parison, a brief account of the aid extended 
by the French to the American forces in 
1917-18. 

French Assistance to the A.E.F. in World 
War I 

The entrance of the United States into 
World War I, on 6 April 1917, found the 
American forces totally unprepared for the 
arduous tasks which they were later to carry 
out on the battlefields of western Europe. 
Initially, these forces, transported to the 
Continent as fast as they were raised and 
as shipping facilities would allow, lacked 
the most essential weapons of the armies 
then at war, namely, artillery, tanks, and 
aircraft. Their plight was made worse by 
the fact that, at home^ most ordnance and 
munitions plants were not prepared to go 



2 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



into large-scale production for months to 
come. In the case of airplanes, it was re- 
ported that American manufacturers could 
not begin to furnish them before the sum- 
mer of 1918. 2 

On reaching the Continent, in early June 
1917, Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing, Com- 
mander-in-Chief, American Expeditionary 
Forces, at once investigated the possibility 
of obtaining from Allied sources the im- 
plements of war so urgently needed for his 
forces. The depredations of enemy sub- 
marines on Atlantic shipping made such a 
procedure even more advisable, and Gen- 
eral Pershing began urging the War De- 
partment to make use to the fullest extent 
possible of French and British factories, 
already geared to wartime production, for 
the manufacture of war materiel for the 
A.E.F. 

To the A.E.F. Commander-in-Chief, 
speed was the essential consideration, for his 
objective was to forge, as rapidly as possible, 
a well-organized and adequately equipped 
striking force to be employed as a separate 
and autonomous component of the com- 
bined Allied armies. Without such a force, 
he would have no other alternative than to 
submit to the already strong pressure ex- 
erted by top Allied authorities for the use 
of his troops as replacements for their own 
armies. 3 

While Allied recognition of the principle 
of a separate American task force was de- 
layed for some months, the need of getting 
equipment into the hands of U.S. troops for 
training and combat purposes was at once 
recognized. To this end, all available re- 
sources, it was agreed by everyone con- 



2 John J. Pershing, My Experiences in the World 
War (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1931), 
I, 161. 

"Ibid., I, 159. 



cerned, must be tapped immediately. Gen- 
eral Pershing himself strongly supported 
this view. "It matters little whether we 
have a particular kind of artillery; if we 
cannot get the French, we should get the 
British. The same can be said of small arms 
and personal equipment. If our ordnance 
cannot furnish them, the French and British 
have them. So in equipment and arma- 
ment there should be no delay." 4 

Investigation convinced General Persh- 
ing that French industry was in a far better 
position than its British counterpart to sup- 
ply a large part of the needed war materiel. 
Although not fully supplied themselves, the 
French were said to be industrially so situ- 
ated as to be capable of increasing their 
production rapidly and substantially. With 
this realization and the assumption that 
American troops would operate in proximity 
to the French armies, A.E.F. officials de- 
cided to adopt the French types of artillery 
for the usual calibers and to seek French 
assistance in obtaining the guns needed at 
least for the first two years. "We secured 
an agreement that our troops, as they came 
along, would be provided with French guns 
and ammunition, including not only the 
75's and 155's, but 37-mm. guns and 
58-mm. trench mortars as well." 5 

Although "France was responding gen- 
erously," her resources were not inexhaust- 
ible. 6 Unless energetic measures were taken 
to provide French factories with the neces- 
sary raw materials, their output could not 
be expected to reach the required levels. 
With this in view, War Department officials 
enlisted the help of American industry and 
business in establishing a vast supply pro- 
gram. Figures on the tonnage of raw ma- 



'Ibid., II, 112. 
"Ibid., I, 107. 
'Ibid., I, 258. 



PROLOGUE 



3 



terials supplied to the French up to the 
Armistice for the production of munitions 
of war are illuminating. For the artillery 
pieces and ammunition of French manu- 
facture fired by the A.E.F,, the United States 
supplied, in metals alone, over 700,000 tons 
of steel, 30,000 tons of pig iron, 5,000 tons 
of brass and zinc, 50,000 tons of copper, as 
well as all the principal materials used in 
loading the entire supply of shells. For the 
finished airplanes used by the Air Service, 
34,500,000 feet of spruce, fir, and cedar, 
7,000,000 feet of mahogany and walnut, 
4,000 tons of aluminum, and miscellaneous 
aircraft materials and supplies were fur- 
nished by the United States. All together, 
the French received from America, up to 
November 1918, over 800,000 tons of raw 
materials and semifinished products. 7 

On the other side of the ledger, available 
figures on the weapons of war manufactured 
by the French for use by the A.E.F. are no 
less impressive. The forty-two divisions, 
representing a total of 1,390,000 combatant 
troops, which at the time of the Armistice 
made up the A.E.F. in France, were 
equipped almost exclusively with French 
artillery, artillery ammunition, tanks, and 
planes. It has even been said that, if given 
the necessary raw materials, France could 
have supplied all the artillery, ammunition, 
tanks, and aircraft for an American army 
of any size that could have been sent to 
Europe. 8 

The French produced 3,532 of the 4,194 
pieces of artillery used in combat by the 
A.E.F. up to 1 1 November 1918, 227 of the 
289 tanks, and all of the 240-mm. and 58-. 
mm. trench mortars. As General Pershing 

T Benedict Growell, America's Munitions: 1917— 
1918 (Washington, 1919), pp. 590-92. 

8 Grosvenor B. Clarkson, Industrial America in 
the World War (Boston and New York: Houghton 
Mifflin Co., 1923), pp. 236-38. 



observed: "It was most fortunate that we 
were able to get these guns from the French, 
as up to the end of the war no guns manu- 
factured at home for our army, of the types 
used, except twenty-four 8-inch mortars and 
six 14-inch naval guns, were fired in battle. 9 
Almost all of the railroad artillery used by 
the U.S. forces consisted of equipment 
loaned by the French. The entire supply of 
ammunition fired by American artillery up 
until the last days of the war was of French 
origin because practically none of U.S. 
manufacture (other than shrapnel) had 
reached the front. As for automatic weap- 
ons, reports show that the first twelve U.S. 
divisions were completely equipped with 
Hotchkiss heavy machine guns and 
Chauchat rifles purchased from the French 
Government. 

Another striking figure is the number of 
aircraft. By the time of the Armistice, 
equipment in the hands of the Air Service 
consisted of 3,210 combat and 3,154 train- 
ing airplanes, or a total of 6,364, of which 
4,874 had been supplied by French indus- 
try. Of the forty-three American squad- 
rons engaged in operations on 31 October 
1918, only ten were equipped with aircraft 
manufactured in the United States and 
three with planes of British manufacture, 
as compared with thirty equipped with 
French-made planes. 

Besides manufacturing and supplying 
munitions of war, the French also provided 
troops and facilities. The practice, 
adopted by agreement between General 
Pershing and the War Department, of 
giving priority of shipment to infantry and 
machine gun units left the A.E.F. woefully 
short in supporting arms and services. This 
condition never was corrected and General 
Pershing was compelled to obtain from the 

"Pershing, op. cit., I, 107. See | Table 1] below. 



4 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



Table 1 — Equipment Furnished American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, 
by Type and Supplying Country: 6 April 1917-11 November 1918 



Type 



Artillery " 

Howitzer, 9.2-inch 

Howitzer, 8-inch 

Howitzer, 155-mm 

Gun, 10-inch, Sea Coast 
Gun, 8-inch, Sea Coast, 
Gun, 6-inch, Sea Coast. 
Gun, 155-mm., (GPF)__ 
Gun, 5-inch, Sea Coast. 

Gun, 4.7-inch 

Gun, 75-mm 

Gun, 37-mm 

Railroad Artillery " 

Howitzer, 400-mm 

Gun, 14-inch 

Gun, 340-mm 

Gun, 32-cm - 

Gun, 24-cm 

Gun, 19-cm 

Caissons 

Howitzer, 155-mm 

Gun, 4.7-inch 

Gun, 75-mm 

Trench Mortars 

Mortar, 240-mm. 4 

Mortar, 8-inch, Stokes., 
Mortar, 6-inch, Newton. 
Mortar, 58-mm 

Automatic Weapons 

Browning Machine Gun. 

Vickers Machine Gun 

Hotchkiss Machine Gun 

Browning Rifle 

Chauchat Machine Rifle 

8-mm 

.30-caliber 

Tanks 

Renault 

Mark IV...., 

Mark V and Mark VI.. 

Airplanes 

Balloons 

Horses... 





From 


From 


From 


Total 


France 


Great 


United 






Britain 


States 


4, lyi 


3, 532 


1 /TO 

16U 




a n 

40 


U 


a n 

40 





208 


U 


120 


oo 

88 


798 


796 





2 


15 








15 


6 








6 


74 








74 


233 


233 








26 








26 


71 


o 


A 
\J 


71 


2, 022 


1,862 





160 


701 


641 





60 


158 


*> 140 





18 


4 


4 








84. 


oo 


n 
\j 


18 


2 


2 








12 


12 








24 


24 








32 


32 








9 023 


2 658 


o 


6 365 


l' 994 


' 796 





I, 198 


219 








219 


O, 1U 


I, oOZ 


n 
U 


A. OIK 


2, 555 


237 


1,427 


891 


101 


101 








1,757 





914 


843 


iol 




C1 1 


j. p. 

"to 


136 


136 








124, 352 


40, 484 





83, 868 


30, 089 








30, 089 


10,411 








10,411 


5, lib 




n 
\J 


o 


43, 368 








43, 368 


15,988 


15, 988 








19, 241 


19, 241 








289 


227 


26 


36 


237 


227 





10 


24 





12 


12 


28 





14 


14 


< 6, 345 


4, 874 


258 


1,213 


295 


20 





275 


225, 598 


136,114 


21,759 


67, 725 



• Nearly all artillery ammunition used up to 11 Novemher 1918, approximately 10,000,000 rounds, was of French manufacture. 
b Loaned by France. 

' Excludes 19 airplanes furnished by Italy. 

Source: Artillery, caissons, mortars, automatic weapons, and tank data: Historical Rraneh, War Plans Division, General Staff, Organi- 
zation of the Service* of Supply, American Expeditionary Forces^ Monograph 7, WD DoC- 1009 (Washington, 1921), p. 75. Dat,i on airplanes, 
balloons, and horses: Col. Jacques de Chambrun and Capt. Charles de Marerichee, The Amertcan Army in the European Conflict (New York: 
The Macmillan Company, 1919), pp. 205, 21 J, 231. Ammunition information r Benedict Crowd 1, America's Munitions; 1917-191$ (Wash- 
ington, 1919), p. 590. Railroad artillery data: Historical Division, Department of the Army, UNITED STATES ARMY IN THE WORLD 
WAR: 1917-1919, XIV, Reports of Commander-in-Chief, A.£*F., Staff Sections and Services (Washington, 1948), 81. 



PROLOGUE 



5 



French a great part of the corps and army 
artillery, aviation, and other services nec- 
essary to support his armies. For the move- 
ment of his supplies, the A.E.F. Com- 
mander-in-Chief likewise obtained from 
the French the use of their facilities such 
as harbors, railways, depots, warehouses, 
and supply dumps. At the time of the 
Armistice, American cargo was utilizing 
98 berths in French ports of which 86 were 
French-constructed and 12 American-built. 
During the three-month period from Sep- 
tember to November 1918, an average of 
300 trains per day, representing a daily 
haul of 22,000 miles, were operating at 
the disposal of the American General 
Headquarters. 10 

When plans were first discussed for set- 
ting up a supply system for the A.E.F. , the 
French strongly urged General Pershing to 
adopt their own for the sake of simplifica- 
tion. The proposal was turned down for 
a variety of reasons, not the least of which 
was the firm American intent to preserve 
the integrity of the U.S. forces as a separ- 
ate military establishment. Yet, in super- 
imposing the American supply system on 
the existing French organization, efforts 
were made, whenever possible, to harmo- 
nize with the latter so as to prevent needless 
complications. 11 As a concession to the 
French plea for unification, U.S. adminis- 
trative sections generally were made to con- 



10 Col. Jacques de Chambrun and Capt. Charles 
de Marenches, The American Army in the Euro- 
pean Conflict (New York: The Macmillan Com- 
pany, 1919), p. 205; Lt. Col. Edouard Jean 
Requin, America's Race to Victory, with Introduc- 
tion by General Peyton C. March, Chief of Staff, 
U.S. Army (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 
1919), p. 185. 

11 Historical Branch, War Plans Division, Gen- 
eral Staff, Organization of the Services of Supply, 
American Expeditionary Forces, Monograph 7, WD 
Doc 1009, (Washington, 1921), p. 14. 



form to the boundaries of French military 
regions. This resulted in simplification and 
greater Franco-American co-operation. 
One important feature was borrowed from 
the French supply system — regulating sta- 
tions. Located near advance depots, these 
stations controlled the flow of supplies from 
the zone of interior to the units at the front. 
At the time of the Armistice, the A.E.F. had 
constructed one such station, was in pro- 
cess of organizing another, and was making 
use of French stations whenever necessary. 12 
Another major contribution to molding 
the A.E.F. was the valuable assistance the 
French rendered in the field of training. 
The critical shortage of Allied manpower 
had made it necessary to send untrained 
troops to France immediately after the en- 
trance of the United States into the war. 13 
Although General Pershing, President 
Woodrow Wilson, Secretary of War New- 
ton D. Baker, and the American public 
were insistent on the creation of a unified 
American Army, trained and commanded 
according to U.S. methods, the urgency of 
the operational situation during the first 
year of American participation in the war 
required that every expedient be used to get 
U.S. troops in battle as speedily as possi- 
ble. 14 For lack of time and better practices, 
Allied training methods were adopted, with 
the result that no completely American 
training organization was set up before hos- 
tilities came to an end. 



12 Report of the Military Board of Allied Supply 
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1924), 
pp. 344-46. 

13 As an illustration, over 50 percent of the com- 
ponent elements of the first U.S. division to reach 
the Continent were completely untrained. His- 
torical Division, Department of the Army, UNITED 
STATES ARMY IN THE WORLD WAR: 1917- 
1919, III, Training and Use of American Units 
With British and French (Washington, 1948), 426. 

"Ibid., p. 2. 



6 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



Except for two divisions, 15 U.S. units 
abroad were trained by the French since 
they were to fight alongside the latter at 
least initially. This procedure was strongly 
recommended by the chief of Liaison 
Group, General Headquarters, who de- 
clared on 28 May 1917: "If the French 
Army is to be our model and if the Amer- 
ican is to fight beside the Frenchman ac- 
cording to the latter's methods, then the 
training of the American troops should be 
done in as close contact as possible with 
the French troops, not only from the tech- 
nical point of view but from that of mutual 
acquaintance, mutual understanding, mu- 
tual respect." 16 After the proposed proce- 
dure was approved, an effective method 
was adopted by which officers and enlisted 
men of both armies were exchanged. 
American troops were detailed to French 
training camps as students, and the French 
came to U.S. stations as instructors. Also, 
the practice was established of billeting a 
French division in proximity to a corre- 
sponding American organization for the 
purpose of giving them both thorough in- 
struction. The French division would stay 
about a month, lending its officer and tech- 
nician personnel to the American unit, and 
would arrange for the parallel instruction 
of the two divisions. After this initial 
training period, American cadres would 
spend tours of duty with the French in 

15 Which were among the American units to be 
trained by the British for participation in combat 
alongside British troops, in accordance with the 
Six Division Plan agreed to by the United States 
and the United Kingdom in January 1918 (and 
revised later in June to include ten divisions). 
Eight of the ten divisions were withdrawn before 
the training program was completed, leaving only 
two entirely British-trained. Ibid., pp. 2-3. 

M Ibid., p. 238. 



quiet sectors of the front for additional ex- 
perience in trench warfare. 17 

For the training of pilots, arrangements 
were made for U.S. troops to enter flying 
schools in France and in other Allied coun- 
tries until such a time as American training 
centers could be established. 

From this brief summary, it can safely be 
assumed that the services rendered by the 
French, and to a lesser degree by the British, 
both in supplying munitions of war and in 
providing training and other facilities short- 
ened by many months the time it took the 
American Expeditionary Forces to become a 
well-equipped and well-trained striking 
force ready to take a decisive part in opera- 
tions. Even so, a year elapsed before the 
A.E.F. was in a position to undertake offen- 
sive action, and then with the strength of but 
a single infantry regiment. It is probable 
that without the generous assistance they re- 
ceived from the French, American troops, 
except for a few individual units, might 
well not have engaged in combat in 1917- 
18. It is equally probable that the rec- 
ord of this assistance influenced the U.S. 
decision in World War II to extend similar 
help to the nation that had proved itself a 
loyal provider in the earlier conflict. 18 

The American Decision To Rearm the 
French in World War II 

The American assurances given the 
French at Cherchel in October 1942 auto- 

" Serious consideration was given to the possi- 
bility of sending French and British officers to the 
United States to give advanced courses in tactics. 
General Pershing opposed this procedure which, he 
felt, would tend to reduce the sense of responsi- 
bility and initiative of American officers. Further- 
more, he was not entirely in agreement with the 
military tactics taught by the French, Pershing, 
op. ext. II, 237. 

18 Se e| Bibliographical Notel for list of World War 
I source material used in this section. 



PROLOGUE 



7 






VICTORY PARADE, PARIS, 1918. Leading Army troops is General John J. Pershing. 



matically became a firm commitment the 
moment the North African forces threw 
their weight on the side of the Anglo-Amer- 
ican allies barely a month later. The re- 
entry of these forces into the war climaxed 
a long period of painful uncertainty for the 
Allies themselves, as well as for the French. 
This period, which began at the close of the 
ill-fated Campaign in the West of May- 
June 1940, probably constitutes the most 
crucial page of France's recent history. 

French Political and Military Situation 
June 1940-November 1942 

By the time of the Franco-German 
armistice of 22 June 1940, the German 
forces had penetrated deep into French 



territory. They proceeded at once to estab- 
lish themselves in a zone of occupation com- 
prising northern and western France, or 
approximately one half of the country, and, 
by a demarcation line, virtually severed it 
from contact with the other half. A French 
government headed by Marshal Henri 
Petain organized in the "free zone" and 
from the small city of Vichy undertook to 
repair the physical and moral havoc caused 
by the blitzkrieg just ended. Fearful of 
further German encroachments on what was 
left of French sovereignty, Marshal Petain 
and his associates resolved to abide strictly 
by the stiff armistice terms imposed by the 
Germans. Under these terms the French 
Army was being reduced to a skeleton police 
force, or "Armistice Army," of some 100,- 



8 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



000 men for Metropolitan France and a 
like number for the overseas territories in 
Northwest Africa. The fleet, still intact, 
was to remain in French harbors on suffer- 
ance so long as the French respected the 
armistice. 

It has now been established that, during 
the ensuing years, a number of officials in 
the government and on the General Staff 
in Vichy secretly endeavored to strengthen 
the Army, at home as well as overseas, be- 
yond the limitations imposed by the armi- 
stice clauses. These patriotic individuals, 
undaunted by a defeat which they regarded 
as only a temporary setback, were preparing 
for the day when the Army would take up 
arms once more against the Germans. 
Their main effort was directed at building 
up a cadre force and a reserve of weapons 
and maintaining organizations and services 
then unauthorized in anticipation of the 
eventual mobilization of former combat- 
ants. 19 

At the end of June 1940, General 
Maxime Weygand, Minister of National 
Defense, issued a secret directive on the 
hiding of weapons and requested military 
region commanders in the free zone to con- 
ceal all antitank and antiaircraft guns in 
their respective areas. These instructions 
appear to have had the full support of both 
the high military command and the heads 
of services. The SR ( Service de Renseigne- 
ments, or Intelligence Service), ordered to 
disband, managed to retain the framework 
of its organization and continued to function 

,!> General Revers, "L'O.R.A.," La France et son 
Empire dans la Guerre, ed. Louis Mouilleseaux 
(Paris: Editions Litteraires de France, 1947), II, 
119-22; Maxime Weygand, Memoires: Rappele au 
Service (Paris: Flammarion, 1950), pp. 303-21; 
Intervs with Lt Gen Augustin Guillaume, Dec 48, 
and with Brie Gen M arcel Penette, Jul 50. (See 
[Bibliographical Note.| ) 



underground at the cost of many lives. New 
civilian organizations sprang up which ab- 
sorbed part of the General Staff and a num- 
ber of Medical, Engineer, Ordnance, and 
Quartermaster officers. Military transport 
units reappeared under the guise of civilian 
transport agencies. Even civilian organiza- 
tions created by the Vichy regime for na- 
tional rehabilitation purposes underwent 
some unauthorized military instruction. 
Students attending a training center for the 
Chantiers de Jeunesse in 1941-42 were 
taught guerrilla warfare, a subject for ob- 
vious reasons taboo in the regular schools of 
the Armistice Army. On the basis of the 
experience gained at that center, the com- 
manding officer later prepared and dis- 
tributed sub rosa a 200-page manual on the 
organization and operational employment 
of guerrillas. 20 

In addition to, and often at odds with, 
these efforts on the part of regularly consti- 
tuted authorities, other insurgent move- 
ments without official connection or back- 
ing developed after June 1940. Unwilling 

30 After the Franco-German armistice of June 
1940, the Vichy Government created the Chantiers 
de Jeunesse 'youth work camps somewhat similar 
to the CCC camps established in the United States 
in the thirties) for the purpose of putting to work, 
both in France and in North Africa, young men 
who had not yet reached the age of military con- 
scription. Dressed in a green uniform of semi- 
civilian type, these men were primarily employed 
in tasks of public utility. The training center re- 
ferred to above was the Ecole des Cadres located at 
Collonges, near Lyon, barely eighty-five miles from 
Vichy. For the role played by Chantiers de Jeunesse 
in North Africa, se e| p. 68|, 68n, below. 

The manual was Instruction Provisoire sur 
I'Emploi des Corps Francs, prepared by Maj. 
Charles de Virieu in 1943, clandestinely printed 
and distributed under German occupation in early 
1944. Copy found in file "Material zur Freischzer- 
lerfrage" (Material on Partisan Problem), Military 
Commander France, Oct 43 to Jut 44, GMDS No. 
75486, located in German Military Documents Sec- 
tion, AGO. 



PROLOGUE 



9 



to bow to the enemy, many citizens, espe- 
cially in the German-occupied zone, began 
to organize into Resistance movements. 
These were generally sponsored and con- 
trolled by political parties. Their aim was 
to resist by force the occupying power as 
well as the Vichy Government, which they 
regarded as a defeatist, or even a pro-Ger- 
man, regime. The dubious behavior of 
some high officials, plus the increasingly 
harsh measures — such as the conscription of 
young men for forced labor in Germany 
and the deportation of political enemies 
of the "New Order" — taken by both the 
occupant and the more collaborationist 
element of the Vichy Government, forced 
many of the "resisters" to take refuge in 
remote areas. There they organized them- 
selves into Maquis or guerrilla groups. 

Eager to strengthen the spirit of resist- 
ance of the French in view of its potential 
military value, the British undertook as 
early as November 1 940 to assist the under- 
ground forces morally and materially. 
Later, in 1943, the Americans joined in the 
task of supplying ammunition, equipment, 
and even personnel such as leaders, radio 
operators, and instructors in sabotage and 
guerrilla warfare. 21 

On 18 June 1940, four days before the 
signing of the Franco-German armistice, 
Brig. Gen. Charles de Gaulle, who had just 
made his way to London in a British plane, 
issued his now historic appeal over the BBC 
to the people of France urging them to con- 
tinue the battle. Although on 23 June he 
was stripped of his military rank by the 
Vichy Government, the general rallied 
around him all Frenchmen willing to re- 



" l A brief evaluation of this Anglo-American un- 
dertaking and of the American share in providing 
material assistance to the Resistance forces is giv- 
en in Chapter XVIII, below. 



main in the fight on the side of the British 
Commonwealth. In a letter dated 7 Au- 
gust, the British Prime Minister, Winston 
Churchill, recognized him as "head of all 
free Frenchmen, wherever located, who 
rally around you to the support of the Allied 
cause." 22 This recognition was followed, 
on the same day, by a formal agreement be- 
tween the British Government and General 
de Gaulle which constituted the Charter 
of Free France. 

A year later, on 24 September 1941, the 
Free France organization established in 
London a French National Committee un- 
der the presidency of General de Gaulle. 
To the world at large and more especially 
to an increasing number of the French peo- 
ple then under German occupation, Gen- 
eral de Gaulle was fast becoming the symbol 
of the ultimate resurrection of France. 

Meanwhile, a number of French over- 
seas possessions had broken with the Vichy 
Government and announced their shift of 
allegiance to General de Gaulle. By the 
end of 1942 de Gaulle had control over 
French Equatorial Africa, the Cameroons, 
Syria, Madagascar, Djibouti, and Reunion. 
Military manpower available in these areas, 
added to Frenchmen who had escaped to 
the United Kingdom, produced a potential 
army of about 100,000 men. In late 1940 
General de Gaulle had begun converting 
it to reality by creating staffs as well as 
ground, naval, and air units. These organ- 
ized groups, known as Forces Franchises 
Libres or Free French Forces, grew to some 
35,000 men by October 1942." 

25 Ltr, Churchill to de Gaulle, 7 Aug 40, quoted 
in Philippe Barres, Charles de Gaulle (New York: 
Doubleday, Doran and Co., 1941), p. 147. 

:: ' Theoretically, they were renamed Forces 
Franchises Combattantes (Fighting French Forces) 
when, on 19 July 1942, the Free France organiza- 
tion changed its name to Fighting France in order 



10 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



From the start, the Free French Forces 
operated under the control of the British 
who assumed the responsibility for feeding 
and equipping them. In mid-November 
1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt de- 
clared them eligible to receive American 
lend-lease equipment, not directly, but 
through the British. 24 Soon after the entry 
of the United States in the war, their status 
was re-examined as British and Americans 
studied the division of responsibility for 
equipping members of the United Nations. 
On 24 March 1942 the topmost Anglo- 
American military body, the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff, agreed on what amounted 
to a system of adoption by which the mem- 
bers of the United Nations would look for 
all their military supplies either to the 
United Kingdom or the United States. By 
this arrangement, the Free French Forces 
remained under the tutelage of the British, 
who would provide for the rearmament as 
well as the training of these forces except 
for the few stationed in the Pacific. 25 Thus, 
from the time they were organized in the 
fall of 1940 to the end of the Tunisian cam- 
paign in May 1943, the Free French were 

to include the members of the Resistance forces. 
In practice, however, they generally retained their 
former appellation throughout the war. They will 
be referred to as Free French Forces or the Free 
French throughout this volume. Most important 
of the staffs created was the BCRA (Bureau Cen- 
tral de Renseignements et d'Action), whose func- 
tion was to carry out clandestine operations in 
France. See | p. 299-30111 below. 

51 Ltr, Roosevelt to Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., 1 1 
Nov 41, DAD Authority File of President's Ltrs. 

" Min, CCS 1 3th Mtg, 24 Mar 42. (See Biblio- 
graphical INote.l) 

The Combined Chiefs of Staff, organized in 
January 1942 with headquarters in Washington, 
consisted of the British Chiefs of Staff or their 
designated representatives in the United States 
(British Joint Staff Mission) and the U.S. Joint 
Chiefs of Staff. Their task was to formulate and 
execute, under the direction of the heads of the 
countries involved, policies and plans relating to 



almost entirely British-equipped and Brit- 
ish-trained. During those two and a half 
years, they took an active part in military 
operations. 

Their ground forces consisted of two 
main units. The first was the L Force, also 
known as the Leclerc Column, from the 
name of its commanding officer, Col. 
Jacques Leclerc. After making a spectacu- 
lar dash from Lake Chad across northeast- 
ern Africa, the column reached Tripolitania 
where it fought gallantly under the opera- 
tional control of the British Eighth Army. 
It was subsequently engaged in southern 
Tunisia. Later it was raised to the strength 
of a division, operating as the 2d Free 
French Division (2d DFL) under the com- 
mand of Brig. Gen. Jacques Leclerc. The 
second unit was initially composed of the 
1st and 2d Free French Brigades, of which 
the 1st, under the command of Brig. Gen. 
Pierre Koenig, distinguished itself, also un- 
der the British Eighth Army, at the battles 
of Bir Hacheim in Libya and El 'Alamein 
in Egypt. The two brigades having been 
reorganized, in February 1943, as the 1st 
Free French Division (1st DFL), the unit 

the strategic conduct of the war, broad war require- 
ments, allocation of munitions, and transportation 
requirements. 

The British Chiefs of Staff were Field Marshal 
Sir Alan F. Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General 
Staff, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound 
(later replaced by Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew 
B. Cunningham), First Sea Lord, and Air Chief 
Marshal Sir Charles Portal, Chief of the Air Staff. 

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff were Admiral 
William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to the Com- 
mander in Chief (President Roosevelt, later Pres- 
ident Harry S. Truman), General George C. Mar- 
shall, Chief of Staff of the Army, Admiral Ernest J. 
King, Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, and Chief 
of Naval Operations, and General Henry H. 
Arnold, Commanding General, Army Air Forces. 

See Gordon A. Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, 
UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II 
(Washington, 1951), Ch. I. 



PROLOGUE 



11 



was subsequently engaged, under the com- 
mand of Maj. Gen. Pierre Koenig, in 
southern Tunisia along with the Leclerc 
Column. From their earliest commitment 
to combat up to the end of operations in 
that area the Free French Ground Forces 
had suffered nearly 3,700 casualties, includ- 
ing 1,160 killed in action. Likewise partici- 
pating in Allied operations were the Free 
French Naval Forces and the Free French 
Air Forces. By October 1942 the Air 
Forces had grown to five squadrons. Two 
were operating from the United Kingdom, 
one in the Middle East, and one in Libya 
in conjunction with the Free French 
Ground Forces. Shortly afterward, the re- 
maining squadron departed for the USSR, 
there to participate in operations on the 
Russian front under Russian control. 28 

Not all of the overseas possessions had 
rallied to General de Gaulle. In French 
North Africa (Tunisia, Algeria, and French 
Morocco) and West Africa, military au- 
thorities had chosen the policy of "unity of 
the French Union behind the Marshal." 
The African Army had been greatly re- 
duced in numbers and efficiency as a result 
of its participation in the campaign in 
France of May-June 1940 and subsequent 
demobilization. Its chiefs — Generals Ma- 
xime Weygand, Alphonse Juin, Auguste 
Nogues, and others — first undertook the task 
of reorganizing, re-equipping, and training 
such forces as were authorized under the 
terms of the Franco-German armistice. 27 

" Figures on losses are taken from Lt. Col. P. 
Santini, "Etude statistique sur les pcrtes au cours 
de la guerre 1939-1945," Revue du Corps de Santi 
Militaire, X, No. 1 (March, 1954). 

Les Forces Aeriennes Franfaises de 1939 a 1945, 
ed. Pierre Paquier (Paris: Berger-Levrault, 1949), 
pp. 53—65, a semiofficial publication prepared by 
a group of F rench Air Force officers. See also 
pp. 1 195j [37fi] below. 

27 Although the avowed purpose of the rehabili- 



The strength of these forces was set suc- 
cessively, with German agreement, at 
100,000, 120,000, and finally 137,000 in 
1942. By waging an active recruiting cam- 
paign especially among the native popu- 
lation, and by obtaining from the General 
Staff in Vichy additional French cadres, the 
North African military authorities gradually 
built the army to its authorized strength. 
Simultaneously they took steps to reorganize 
the necessary services, find equipment, and 
rekindle the morale of the troops. 

As in the case of the Metropolitan Armi- 
stice Army, it appears that individual staff 
officers or groups of officers exerted consid- 
erable effort to increase the African Army 
over and above the authorized level. 28 
They put into effect a bold, secret program 
which had a twofold objective: immediate 
concealment of extra troops and equip- 
ment, and mobilization of additional men 
in the event of hostilities. The program, 
unlike that undertaken in continental 
France, proceeded with relatively little in- 
terference from Axis armistice commissions. 
It was particularly successful in mountain- 
ous French Morocco; the geographical 
situation at the westernmost end of North 
Africa encouraged and facilitated clandes- 

tation of the North African Army was to provide 
for the defense of that area against any invader, 
recent written and oral statements from various 
Army officials then in control leave little doubt 
that their secret hope was that their forces would 
take up arms once more against the Axis in con- 
junction with an eventual Allied intervention on 
French territory. Evidence in this connection: 
Weygand, op. cit.; Gen Nogues, Corres with 
OGMH ; Intervs with Gen Guillaume, Nov 48, 
with Gen Juin, Dec 48, with Gen Penette, Jul 50. 

M Adm. Pierre Barjot, Le debarquement du 
8 Novembre 1942 en Afrique du Nord (Paris: 
J. de Gigord, 1948); Rene Richard and Alain 
de Serigny, L'Enigme d' Alger (Paris: Librairie 
Artheme Fayard, 1947), pp. 203-14; Weygand, 
op, cit., pp. 395-405 ; info provided by Gen Penette, 
Jul 50. 



12 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



tine activities. The results were impres- 
sive: some 60,000 men, including short- 
term volunteers, civilian workers, laborers, 
auxiliary police, and goumiers (or Moroc- 
can riflemen), were secretly maintained in 
various mountain areas. A secret plan 
was worked out to mobilize 109,000 men 
and requisition transport vehicles, animals, 
and supplies in the event of hostilities. 29 

As for equipment, 59,000 weapons and 
22,000,000 rounds of ammunition above 
the levels authorized under the armistice 
were hidden away. Most of this materiel 
had been concealed immediately after the 
armistice on orders from local commanders. 
Some weapons in time were manufactured 
locally from odds and ends. 

Finally steps were taken to increase the 
capabilities and efficiency of important 
services such as the radio communication 
system and the medical corps, and to re- 
plenish quartermaster stocks. Additional 
roads, trails, and rail lines were constructed 
to improve the transportation network. 30 

In French West Africa armistice com- 
missions had not determined the number 
of men or the amount of equipment to be 
authorized in that area. French military 
authorities as a result had the opportunity 
to play up their defenseless position in the 
face of Allied threats to Dakar, and to con- 



" Info furnished by Gen Penette, Jul 50. Gen- 
eral Penette, a captain assigned to General Wey- 
gand's staff in North Africa in early 1941, is credited 
with having initiated the program. See also Wey- 
gand, op. cit. s pp. 395-405. 

Col. Augustin Guillaume } then on General 
Nogues' staff, was in charge of recruiting, equip- 
ping, and training the goumiers. With the con- 
nivance of officials in the Vichy Government, he 
obtained substantial appropriations with which to 
carry his work on and secured additional cadres 
from France. In this manner, he was able to con- 
ceal several thousand goumiers. Interv with Gen 
Guillaume, Nov 48. 

"Info supplied by Gen Penette, 1952. 



vince the Germans of the need for strength- 
ening West African garrisons. A force of 
some 50,000 men was eventually raised. 
But it received little equipment, no tanks, 
and no antitank guns. 31 

Pre-TORCH Negotiations 
on Supplying the French 

By the spring of 1942, General de Gaulle 
was confident that in the event of an Allied 
landing in France, large numbers of French- 
men would rally to the common cause and 
assume under his leadership a substantial 
share of the fighting. To implement the 
ambitious rearmament program which he 
had just completed, he decided to tap the 
real source of equipment, the United States. 
In May and again in June, he and members 
of his National Committee asked American 
officials in London whether or not the 
United States would agree to allocate and 
deliver equipment, under the Lend-Lease 
Act, directly to the Free French Forces 
instead of through the British as was the 
practice. 32 Before American authorities 
could take action on the matter, Free French 
headquarters submitted in July and again 
in August and September of the same year 
a series of concrete proposals. These called 
for re-equipping with U.S. materiel not only 
the existing Free French units but the much 
larger forces expected to be raised once an 
Allied assault on continental France had 
been launched. 33 



11 Maj Gen Emile Bethouart's statement at 6th 
MRP Meeting, 7 Jan 43, CCS 334, Military Rep- 
resentatives of the Associated Pacific Powers 
(5—26—42 ) ; see also Interv with Gen Penette, 
Jul 50. 

31 Memo, Adm Harold Stark, 2 Jun 42, in Comdr 
U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, US-French Relations, 
App. B, Pt. I, copy in OCMH. 

33 Notes 2 and 3, Gen de Gaulle's Special Staff, 
21 Jul and 4 Aug 42, OPD 336 France, Sec 1; 



PROLOGUE 



13 



The proposals were turned down for a 
number of reasons. First, there were at the 
time more pressing needs for armament and 
materiel elsewhere. In the opinion of Gen- 
eral George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of 
the U.S. Army, the limited striking power of 
the Free French Forces did not warrant such 
increased allocations of materiel as those 
requested by General de Gaulle. In addi- 
tion, there was considerable reluctance on 
the part of American authorities to have 
dealings with the Free French military head- 
quarters. Not that the integrity of General 
de Gaulle himself was in the least ques- 
tioned, but experience had convinced 
Anglo-American planners that his organiza- 
tion was "extremely leaky" from the stand- 
point of security. 34 More important still 
was the fact that at the very moment when 
the Free French armament request was 
being submitted, U.S. military authorities 
in London and Washington were putting 
the final touches to plans for an assault not 
on France but on northwest Africa ( Opera- 
tion Torch). In line with the policy of 
avoiding all official exchange of information 
with the Gaullists, the latter were being 
excluded from planning for, and participa- 
tion in, the contemplated operation. At the 
same time, however, American planners 
were negotiating with other French author- 
ities for active French support. 35 

General Giraud, who had been in south- 
ern France since late April 1942 after his 
daring and spectacular escape from intern- 
Memo, Col Emmanuel Lombard for Adm Stark, 
26 Aug 42, OCS A-45-523 (France). 

34 Memo, Gen Marshall for Secy State, 20 Nov 42, 
OPD 336 France, Sec 1. 

M Memo, Marshall for Adm Ernest J. King, 1 Oct 
42, OCS A-45-523 (France); Memo, Brig Gen 
Albert C. Wedemeyer for Maj Gen George V. 
Strong, 29 Oct 42, OPD 336 France, Sec 1 ; Memo, 
Marshall for President, 3 Sep 42, WDCSA 381 
Torch (9-3-42). 



ment in Germany, was regarded by Ameri- 
can officials as the available military figure 
most likely to be successful in leading French 
North and West Africa back into the war on 
the side of the Allies. A soldier first and 
foremost, General Giraud cut a legendary 
figure in the eyes of most Frenchmen. His 
recent escape was the second such exploit in 
his life, the first having taken place in World 
War I. At the outbreak of hostilities in 
September 1939, he was leading the French 
Seventh Army. In mid-May 1940, soon 
after the German break-through at Sedan, 
he took command of a group of armies and 
desperately attempted to stem the German 
advance only to be taken prisoner. In early 
1942, after his return to France, American 
representatives approached him secretly and 
obtained his promise of support. General 
Giraud felt that the Allies should consider 
a landing on the Mediterranean coast of 
France simultaneous with the invasion of 
North Africa. For the forces that he ex- 
pected to assemble in the bridgehead from 
available French manpower, he urged the 
Allies on 27 October to include in their 
logistical planning the provision of some 
150,000 tons of war materiel to be brought 
from Gibraltar to a port in southern 
France. 36 Such a proposal was out of the 
question for, unknown to General Giraud, 
Torch had long passed the planning stage. 
In fact, the assault troops were already at 
sea. Finally persuaded that he must accept 
Allied plans and expecting that they would 
go into effect in an operation beginning 
several months later, General Giraud signi- 
fied his readiness to be brought to North 
Africa at the opportune moment. 

In North Africa, meanwhile, the heads 
of a small band of determined French offi- 



M General [Henri] Giraud, Un seul but, la. Victoire 
(Paris: R. Julliard, 1949), pp. 336-38. 



14 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



cers and civilians who had long pledged 
themselves to the Allied cause and had wel- 
comed General Giraud's promise of lead- 
ership were preparing for the role they 
expected to play at the time of the Allied 
landings. In the course of the secret meet- 
ing held at Cherchel on 23 October, at 
which General Clark relayed President 
Roosevelt's pledge of assistance to the Afri- 
can forces in the event of their re-entry in 
the war, he and General Mast, military 
leader of the French "dissidents" and 
spokesman for General Giraud, discussed 
the nature and amount of armament that 
would be required. A week later, in two 
letters addressed to General Giraud, Robert 
D. Murphy, the U.S. political representa- 
tive in North Africa, confirmed the Pres- 
ident's intent as disclosed at Cherchel: 
"During [the period following the land- 
ings] the Government of the United States 
will bend its efforts to furnish the French 
forces with arms and modern equip- 
ment. . . . The United States Govern- 
ment will extend the benefits of the 
Lend-Lease Act to the requisitions for ma- 
teriel from the United States intended to 
give the French Army the means to partici- 
pate in the common struggle. The United 
States Government will facilitate the ne- 
gotiation and implementation of these 
requisitions." 37 

On the strength of the assurances he had 
been given, General Mast submitted at 
once and in great secrecy an extensive 
and detailed rearmament program, known 
thereafter as the Mast Plan. The program 
was based on the assumption that French 
North Africa would be able to raise, by the 
end of the first month after the landings, 
eight infantry and two armored divisions, 

aT Text of both letters, dated 2 November, in 
French Records, File 221, OCMH. 



together with a number of tank, artillery, 
air, and service units. Actually the Mast 
Plan was the third rearmament scheme to 
be submitted before Torch to American 
representatives in North Africa. It was 
drawn up by Lt. Col. Louis Jousse, a Re- 
sistance member on the staff of General 
Mast, who had already proposed (in De- 
cember 1941 and June 1942) the equip- 
ping of two armored and six infantry divi- 
sions. Neither the first Jousse program nor 
the still earlier rearmament study submitted 
in March 1941 by Capt. Andre Beaufre, 
another Resistance member on the staff of 
the Governor General of Algeria, was offi- 
cially acted upon. 38 In point of fact the 
possibility that the United States would 
some day undertake a French armament 
program had not yet been seriously con- 
sidered by the War Department, and for 
a number of reasons. 

First, it was not until July 1942 that 
British and American planners decided on 
an invasion of northwest Africa as part of 
the Anglo-American "Grand Strategy," a 
strategy which involved operations on many 
fronts. For some time before, they had 
tossed back and forth a plan to land in 
France itself, but had abandoned the 
project in favor of the North African ven- 
ture, thus removing for the time any con- 
sideration of an armament program for 
Metropolitan France. 39 

Even after plans for Torch began to 
take shape, there could be no question of 
an armament program for the North Af- 
rican forces. Allied planners were being 
faced with crucial issues, in particular a 

38 Intervs with Col. Andre Beaufre, 7 and 9 Sep 
50; Barjot, op. cit., pp. 34-36, 54-55. 

39 See Maurice Matloff and Edwin M. Snell, 
Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare: 1941- 
1942, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD 
WAR II (Washington, 1953), Chs. XII and XIII. 



PROLOGUE 



15 



shipping and equipment situation rendered 
critical by the heavy demands from China 
and the USSR for materiel. An ambitious 
American armament program known as 
the Victory Program had been initiated in 
late 1941; it visualized a maximum U.S. 
ground force of over 200 divisions as nec- 
essary to accomplish the defeat of America's 
potential enemies. 4 " The program still was 
in its early phase of implementation. Even 
to equip the American divisions earmarked 
for Torch required that other divisions in 
training in the United States be "scalped" 
of their materiel." 3 To provide arms for 
forces such as the North African Army 
would necessitate stripping more U.S. 
units. At any rate the question was pre- 
mature in view of the uncertainty regarding 
North Africa's eventual reaction to Torch 
itself. 

By September the encouraging results of 
the secret negotiations carried out with the 
dissidents gave hope that the North African 
forces would join the Allies. The problem 
of providing them with arms was now in the 
foreground. In October the assurances 
given at Cherchel forced the issue: the Mast 
Plan would have to be taken into serious 
consideration in Washington. 

In transmitting to the War Department a 
partial list of the Mast requirements, Lt. 
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, commanding 
general of the Torch forces, urged that he 
be informed as to the ability of the United 
States to furnish the necessary items of 
equipment and the rates at which they could 
be made available. His intention was to 
include the materiel in later shipments "in 

"See Richard M. Leigh eon and Robert W. 
Coakley, Global Logistics and Strategy: 1940- 
1943, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD 
WAR II [Washington, 1955 J. 

" Matloff and Snell, op. dt., p. 318. 



accordance with the situation as it de- 
velops." 42 

After rapid examination of the Mast Plan, 
War Department officials concluded that, 
in general, the items on the partial list of 
requirements could be made available for 
shipment by 20 December 1942. To carry 
out the entire plan, they warned, would 
require stripping twelve American divisions. 
They urged therefore that only such materiel 
be provided as was necessary to supplement 
existing French equipment. 43 Their recom- 
mendation was submitted to General Mar- 
shall, who approved furnishing supplemen- 
tary equipment when it could be determined 
that the French would take an active part 
in operations." Commenting on the French 
request for aircraft, Lt. Gen. Henry H, 
Arnold, Commanding General, Army Air 
Forces, urged that caution be exercised in 
the employment of French pilots. He rec- 
ommended that as soon as practicable after 
the initial phases qualified French pilots, 
once their loyalty had been determined, be 
incorporated in American combat and serv- 
ice units. When their ability had been 
ascertained and as their numbers increased, 
flights within American squadrons might 
be formed, progressing gradually to all- 
French combat and service units using U.S. 
equipment. In his opinion, the factors of 
importance to be considered included de- 
termination of loyalty, need for security, 
language differences, ability to absorb train- 
ing, and familiarization with American 
equipment* 

The invasion of northwest Africa thus 



" Ms* 4259, Eisenhower to AGWAR, 30 Oct 42, 
ABC 400 [ll-l]-+2), Sec I, 

* Memo, Chief, Logistics Gp OPD, for Lt Gen 
John E. Hull, 31 Oct 42, OPD 400 Francp, Sec 1. 

*' Planning Div Diary, ASF File, 1 Nov 42. 

" Mag R-2728, Arnold to Maj Gen Carl Spaatz, 
3 Nov 42, ABC 400 (11-11-42), Sec I. 



16 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



brought suddenly to a head the question of 
American large-scale and rapid rearmament 
of the French. By November a plan was in 
being and it had been tentatively approved. 
Yet all the thorny problems of rearmament 
still lay ahead as the Allied armada steamed 
toward the coast of Africa to deliver the first 
Anglo-American blow for the liberation of 
Western Europe. 

The French North and West African 
Forces Throw Their Weight on the 
Side of the Allies 

Operation Torch, directed by General 
Eisenhower, was launched on the night of 
7-8 November 1942. 4R The assault troops 
numbered some 83,000 Americans and 
26,000 British, or a total of 109,000 men, 
the British in addition furnishing almost all 
the shipping and carrier air support. As 
they landed, the invaders eagerly hoped 
that the French would welcome them or 
offer no more than token resistance. In the 
Algiers area, the timely and effective inter- 
vention of the French dissidents circum- 
scribed hostilities and rapidly brought them 
to an end. At Oran and more particularly 
in and around Casablanca, the Allies met 
with strong, even bitter, resistance. 47 

45 For a detailed account of Torch, see George 
F. Howe, Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative 
in the West, UNITED STATES ARMY IN 
WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1957). 

" French authorities in control at the time have, 
since then, ascribed this resistance to a lack of 
understanding, before the operation, between the 
Allied command and themselves. They were caught 
off guard, they claim, and had no opportunity of 
releasing officers under their respective command 
from the loyalty pledge which the latter had been 
required to give to their commander in chief, 
Marshal Petain. The dissident leaders, on the 
contrary, have blamed it on faulty or insufficient 
co-ordination between their own forces and the 
Allies, and on the fact that General Giraud had not 
reached Africa by D Day. Whatever the reasons, 



When, on 9 November, General Giraud 
reached North Africa after much unex- 
pected delay, another French official, Ad- 
miral Frangois Darlan, commander in chief 
of all the armed forces of the Vichy Govern- 
ment, was already in control and had as- 
sumed the role of leader of the forces op- 
posing the Allies. He had agreed on the 
previous day to a local cease fire at Algiers 
and was negotiating with the Allied author- 
ities there for a broader understanding 
while in communication with Marshal Pe- 
tain. Not until 10 November did Darlan 
order all resistance in French North Africa 
to cease, and not until 13 November did 
he succeed in arranging with other French 
officials for a provisional French govern- 
ment in Algiers under his leadership which 
would renew hostilities against the Axis 
Powers. On 14 November he appointed 
General Giraud commander in chief of all 
French ground and air forces in the terri- 
tory. An agreement signed by Admiral 
Darlan and General Clark on 22 November 
set forth the terms under which French 
North Africa was joining the Allied camp. 
The North African Army was back in the 
war. 48 

The Germans, meanwhile, alarmed at 
the turn of events across the Mediterra- 
nean, had made two quick moves. On 9 

a brief but bloody encounter ensued accompanied 
by considerable political and military confusion on 
the side of the French. 

48 For detailed information regarding the rela- 
tions of Darlan with the Allied authorities, see 
William L. Langer, Our Vichy Gamble (New 
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1947), and Howe, North- 
west Africa. The English text of the Clark- 
Darlan Agreement may be found in Arthur Layton 
Funk, "A Document Relating to the Second World 
War: The Clark-Darlan Agreement, November 22, 
1942," The Journal of Modern History, XXV No. 
1 (March, 1953), 61-65; a French translation, in 
Rene Richard and Alain de Serigny, L'Enigme 
a" Alger (Paris; Librairie Artheme Fayard, 1947), 
pp. 270-76. 



PROLOGUE 



17 



November, taking advantage of the con- 
fusion prevailing among the French North 
African authorities, they had gained a foot- 
hold on the eastern coast of Tunisia and 
were hastily building up strength in that 
area. On 1 1 November their occupation 
forces in France had crossed the demarca- 
tion line, overrun the free zone, and ordered 
the Armistice Army disarmed. Not only 
would this German action cause the large 
French fleet harbored in Toulon to scuttle 
itself, 4 " on 27 November, rather than to fall 
in enemy hands, but it would wipe out 
many of the valuable gains laboriously 
achieved in great secrecy by the French 
General Staff. Resigning themselves to 
the fact that the Allies had chosen not to 
land in France proper at this time, a small 
number of officers and personnel of the Ar- 
mistice Army prepared to escape from 
France in order to join French forces over- 
seas. A larger number formed a secret or- 
ganization known as Organisation de Re- 
sistance de l'Armee for the purpose of 
continuing underground the activities they 
had conducted in semiclandestinity. 
Working now in conjunction with other 
existing underground forces, they resolved 
to prepare for the day when they could 
again fight in the open alongside the Allies 
for the liberation of their country. 

With French North Africa, except for 
the eastern coast of Tunisia, securely on the 
side of the Allies, the active participation 
of France in the common struggle sud- 
denly assumed considerably larger propor- 
tions. Until then it had been limited to 
the relatively small force of General 
de Gaulle. Now another much larger 
French force was swelling the ranks of Al- 
lied military manpower by some 197,000 

"' This fleet represented approximately one half 
of the French Navy. 



men, including the North African Armi- 
stice Army and the 60,000 troops heretofore 
maintained in mountain hide-outs. By the 
end of November, when the effects of the 
secretly prepared mobilization had been 
felt, another 68,000 men had answered the 
call to the colors, bringing the total number 
of effectives under arms in North Africa 
to 265,000 men, or nearly twice the size of 
the Armistice Army. Meanwhile the rally- 
ing of French West Africa, on 22 Novem- 
ber, had provided a further increase of 
50,000 men, thus raising the effectives 
available to General Giraud in both North 
and West Africa to over 300,000 men. 50 

Initially these effectives were distributed 
as follows: one infantry division in Tunisia; 
three infantry divisions and one light 
mechanized brigade in Algeria; two infan- 
try divisions, one light mechanized brigade, 
and 5,000 goumiers in French Morocco. 
In addition, scattered throughout the three 
areas were several regiments of general 
reserve troops, service units, Territorial and 
Sovereignty troops and installations, some 
naval and merchant ships for the most part 
in need of much repair, and a few air 
squadrons. 

Figures on equipment and war materiel 
in the hands of these forces as they were 
re-entering the war cannot be accurately 

50 Although the secret mobilization program con- 
templated the rec all of 109,000 reservists, only 
68,000, of whom half were natives, answered the 
call to the colors. The partial response has been 
attributed to three main factors; 

1. inaccuracies in the mobilization program it- 
self caused by the conditions of secrecy existing 
at the time the program was drafted ; 

2. last-minute decision not to call up reservists 
engaged in or needed for defense work; 

3. near paralysis of the mobilization operations 
because of the Allied requisition of most available 
transportation and housing facilities. 

Interv with Gen Penette, Jul 50; notes and 
statistics from Gen Penette, Jul 50, Aug 52. 



18 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



given. The only available statistics, as 
shown in Table 2, are dated 1 October 1942 
and therefore apply to the pre-ToRCH 
period. Of the equipment listed, an inde- 
terminate percentage was used up or de- 
stroyed in the course of the brief period of 
resistance, 8-11 November. Losses were 
light in infantry weapons but particularly 
heavy in tanks, light armored cars, and air- 
planes. Over 50 percent of the latter are 
said to have been destroyed. 51 

As it passed under General Giraud's 
command, the African Army, half-organ- 
ized and ill-equipped, could be regarded 
only as a "transition" force. Yet General 
Eisenhower, now Commander in Chief, 

51 Ibid. 

Table 2 — Equipment, By Type, Available to the North African Forces: 



1 October 1942 







In Hands of 




Type 


Total 


Troops and 


Concealed 




in Stock 




Weapons (Except Combat Vehicles) 








Flame Thrower. _ 


72 





72 


Gun, Artillerv. _ 


SIS 


358 


15'7 


Gun, Machine __ _. _ _ _ 


4, 525 


3,014 


1, 511 


Mortar, 81-mm.__ __ _ __ ___ ___ _ 


550 


340 


210 


Rifle (Including Automatic Rifle)- _ . _ 


310,700 


253, 200 


57, 500 


Ammunition (Rounds) 








81-mm. Mortar Shell . 


420,000 


376,000 


44,000 


20-mm. Machine Gun, AA. _ . _ _ _ . 


88,000 


38,000 


50,000 


8- and 7.5-mm. Rifle 


178,000,000 


152, 000,000 


26, 000, 000 


Artillery, All Calibera ___ _______ 


1,494,380 


1, 199,000 


295,380 


Light Tanks and Armored Cars 


388 


335 


53 


Airplanes _______ _ _ _ _ 


700 


C) 


C) 


Food and Clothing.. _ _ ______ 


( 6 ) 


C) 


(») 



Allied Forces in North Africa (hereafter 
referred to as Allied Commander in Chief) , 
was already depending on it to cover the 
continuous flow of incoming Allied units, 
to maintain internal security in North 
Africa, and to reinforce his own Anglo- 
American troops then rushing to meet the 
mounting threat in the east. By his first 
directive of 15 November, General Giraud 
committed this transition force to the pur- 
suit of the German units established in 
Tunisia. 52 Four days later, French ele- 
ments, now part of the combined Allied 
armies, were firing their first shots at their 
former enemy in the hills west of Tunis, a 
prelude to a bitter campaign to come. 

"Dir 1, in Fr Reds File 220, Vol. I, Reorgn of 
Fr Army, OCMH. 



° Distribution not available. 

* Stocks exceeded the needs of the Armistice Army. 

Source: From information furnished by General Penette, July 1950. 



PART ONE 
THE NORTH AFRICAN FORCES 



CHAPTER I 



Early Attempts To Formulate 
a Rearmament Program 



The alignment of French North and 
West Africa on the side of the Allies posed a 
multitude of problems, political as well as 
military. On the political scene, Admiral 
Darlan's assumption of power, which the 
Allies had accepted as a temporary expe- 
dient at a time when resistance to the land- 
ings was going on, had produced a situation 
fraught with danger. The admiral's ties 
with Marshal Petain's government at Vichy 
made impossible the merging of his follow- 
ing with General de Gaulle's and created 
instead a condition highly conducive to 
French factionalism rather than national 
unity in prosecuting the war. The problem 
was suddenly removed, on 24 December, 
when Darlan was struck down by an assas- 
sin's bullet. On orders from the Imperial 
Council which Darlan himself had created, 
General Giraud replaced him as High Com- 
missioner for North and West Africa while 
remaining Commander in Chief of all 
armed forces including naval units. The 
political calm was to be short-lived. For 
the ensuing sixteen months one crisis after 
another would erupt on the French political 
scene and create for General Giraud in- 
creasingly difficult problems. The evolu- 
tion of French internal politics during that 
period will not be treated in detail. How- 
ever, inasmuch as the situation did at times 
affect, to the point of endangering them, 
the good relations established at an early 



date between the Anglo-American author- 
ities and the French High Command, no- 
tice will be taken of at least those political 
events that had a decisive influence on the 
course of French rearmament. 1 

Procedures 

On 13 November President Roosevelt 
hailed North Africa's shift to the Allied 
camp by extending to its forces the benefits 
of the Lend-Lease Act, benefits heretofore 
enjoyed by General de Gaulle's Free 
French. The North African forces now 
were eligible to receive munitions from the 
Anglo-American pool of equipment. Be- 
cause of the promises made at Cherchel, 
which placed them squarely within the 
American sphere of influence, equipping 
them would be a responsibility to be as- 
sumed by the U.S. Government and the 
materiel involved would be provided from 
American production. The Free French, 
on the other hand, would continue to re- 
ceive armament through the British, who 
still held operational control of their larger 
units. 

The procedure expected to be followed 
for the assignment and delivery of materiel 
to French North Africa would be that nor- 

1 For additional information on the French po- 
litical situation from November 1942 to July 1943, 
see Howe, Northwest Africa. 



22 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



mally applicable in the case of the United 
Nations whose re-equipment was similarly 
charged against U.S. production. Each re- 
quirement submitted by any one of these 
nations was transmitted to Operations .Di- 
vision (OPD) of the War Department. 
If approved by OPD, it was forwarded to 
the International Division of the Army 
Service Forces (ASF). 2 The various 
branches and sections of the International 
Division then screened the requirement, 
broke it down according to technical serv- 
ice, determined production possibilities in 
the light of other requirements, charged it 
against U.S. production, and included it in 
the over-all Army Supply Program. From 
then on, ASF was responsible for the pro- 
duction and distribution of the items in- 
volved. In the case of airplanes and air 
force items, the same procedure was fol- 
lowed except that the Army Air Forces in- 
stead of the International Division was 
responsible for processing the requirement 
and for including it in the Air Forces sec- 
tion of the Army Supply Program. In both 
instances, however, the decision to accept 
the requirement was one to be made by the 
War Department alone. 3 

The decision to assign the equipment 
involved bilateral action since it could be 
effected only through the combined Anglo- 
American Munitions Assignments Boards 
established, one in Washington (MAB), 
and one in London (LMAB), as part of 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff machinery. 
The United States having assumed the 
burden of furnishing materiel to the French, 
assignments to them became the responsi- 
bility of the MAB, the board charged with 

* Known as Services of Supply (SOS) before 
March 1943. 

'Tab D to Memo, Maj Gen Wilhelm D. Styer 
for Eisenhower, 10 Feb 43, JRC Misc Doc, Item 
5-a. 



allocating American munitions production. 

The MAB operated through three sub- 
committees: the Munitions Assignments 
Committee (Ground) , MAC (G) ; the Mu- 
nitions Assignments Committee ( Air ) , 
MAC ( A) ; and the Munitions Assignments 
Committee ( Navy ), MAC ( N ) . The Air 
and Navy committees assigned items pe- 
culiar to the Air Forces and Navy re- 
spectively. The Ground committee was 
responsible for the assignment of all other 
items. Since the membership of these com- 
mittees was a combined one, unanimous 
agreement was required before action could 
be implemented. 

The MAB and its subcommittees con- 
sidered U.S. production of military items 
as a pool production without regard to th^ 
particular requirement for which produc- 
tion had been initiated. Assignments of 
current production were made at weekly 
meetings of the board and its subcommit- 
tees in the light of existing shipping and 
materiel availability and of the over-all 
strategic and operational requirements of 
the United Nations including the United 
States. Assignments normally followed ac- 
cepted requirements. There were in- 
stances, however, where production of a 
given item was initiated as a result of a 
requirement stated on behalf of one mem- 
ber of the United Nations, while delivery 
of the item so produced was made to an- 
other member nation because of changes 
in circumstances and operational require- 
ments between the time when production 
was initiated and the time when the item 
became available. Whether or not such 
delivery would be authorized and when it 
would be effected was left to the decision 
of the MAB. 

Since the MAB received its policy from 
the CCS, it follows, therefore, that the 



EARLY ATTEMPTS TO FORMULATE A REARMAMENT PROGRAM 23 



latter held the final authority in the matter 
of the granting or rejecting of munitions 
requests from individual members of the 
United Nations. In practice this CCS au- 
thority limited itself to laying down the 
general policy to be followed with respect 
to the member nation concerned. To ar- 
rive at their decision, the U.S. Joint Chiefs 
of Staff (JCS) sought advice from the 
various sections of their respective General 
Staff agencies. Of these, Operations Divi- 
sion was largely responsible for influencing 
or determining rearmament policies on the 
basis of recommendations from theater 
commanders and in the light of global U.S. 
commitments.* 

Initial Groping Toward a Policy 

Armament negotiations, suspended at 
the close of the Cherchel meeting pending 
the outcome of Torch, could now be re- 
sumed. As they got under way, it soon 
became clear that the main protagonists, 
General Giraud, General Eisenhower, the 
War Department, and the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff, were approaching the re- 
armament problem from different points of 
view. The problem itself, moreover, was 
complicated by the fact that it involved 
two distinct yet closely related issues. One 
was the emergency provision of minimum 
materiel, chiefly arms, to the French units 
being sent to the Tunisian front in increas- 
ing numbers; the other was the large -scale 
rehabilitation of all African forces, such as 
the Mast Plan advocated, for participation 
in subsequent operations. From mid- 
November to late January 1943, divergence 
of opinion regarding the immediate as well 

* For detailed information on acceptance of re- 
quirements and assignments of materiel, see Leigh- 
ton and Coakley, Global Logistics and Strategy: 
1940-1943. 



as future employment of the North African 
forces, anxiety over operational develop- 
ments in Tunisia, and the still critical ship- 
ping and equipment situation facing the 
Anglo-American allies all combined to im- 
pede attempts to formulate an armament 
program. 

In the judgment of the French Com- 
mander in Chief, emergency equipment of 
the forces in action was urgent, of course, 
but the main issue was the conversion of 
his large yet poorly equipped transition 
army into a striking force capable of inter- 
vening in Tunisia as well as on future bat- 
tlefields. Only a reconstituted French 
Army could restore French prestige. It 
was essential, then, that a large-scale re- 
armament program be instituted at once. 

General Giraud's estimate of French 
capabilities was highly optimistic. From 
the outset he took the position that he would 
have no difficulty in putting into the field 
an effective fighting force of 250,000, even 
300,000 men. These figures included the 
troops already available, several classes of 
natives and Frenchmen, soon to be mo- 
bilized, Frenchmen who were expected to 
escape from France in increasing numbers, 
as well as French nationals residing in for- 
eign countries who were likely to enlist. 

If the question had been mere numbers, 
General Giraud's planning would not have 
been unduly optimistic. But a modern 
army needs a high percentage of techni- 
cians. General Giraud had very few Euro- 
peans, and it soon became apparent that 
Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian natives 
either could not be used at all in specialized 
combat and service units or needed a very 
long period of training. The lack of white 
manpower was to be the source of increas- 
ing difficulties for General Giraud. In the 
beginning, however, the French com- 



24 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



mander, confident of his ability to raise a 
sizable fighting force, directed his headquar- 
ters to draft a large-scale rearmament pro- 
gram along the lines of the Mast Plan. 

The CCS were still studying the Mast 
Plan. On 13 November they directed the 
MAB to review assignments for November 
and December in order to determine what 
materiel (except aircraft) could be made 
available to the French before the end of the 
year. 5 Simultaneously they requested the 
Allied Commander in Chief to submit his 
views and recommendations on the plan, 
warning him to keep in mind that shipments 
of materiel for the French would necessarily 
be at the expense of the build-up of his own 
forces. 11 General Eisenhower replied that 
the extent to which the African forces should 
be re-equipped by the United States de- 
pended on how they would be employed 
ultimately — a matter still to be deter- 
mined — and on the number of first-line 
troops the French High Command would 
produce. He felt that if General Giraud 
could activate the number of units he 
claimed he could raise, "which was doubt- 
ful," it would be possible to eliminate some 
of the last U.S. divisions planned for ship- 
ment to the theater. He pointed out that 
a detailed study of the matter would soon 
be prepared by his headquarters and the 
results forwarded to the CCS. 7 

General Eisenhower was not at first con- 
vinced of the value of arming the French in 
view of the uncertainty regarding their com- 
bat effectiveness against the Axis. Reports 
reaching him during the first week of 
Franco-Allied collaboration seriously ques- 
tioned the offensive spirit of the North Afri- 

' Min, CCS 48th Mtg, 13 Nov 42. 
" Msg, CCS to Eisenhower, 13 Nov 42, FAN 18, 
' Msg 866, Eisenhower to CCS, 18 Nov 42, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Equip. 



can forces. He felt, then, he could expect 
little of them for the present at least. He 
would use them initially as garrison forces 
in the theater. Later he might employ cer- 
tain selected units in combat operations. 
In the belief that an early token shipment of 
equipment "as a political gesture" would 
produce beneficial effects "in every way," 
he recommended to the CCS, on 18 Novem- 
ber, that small arms, antitank, and antiair- 
craft armament, with spare parts and am- 
munition, be sent forthwith to the French. 
As an initial shipment, he suggested 8,000 
rifles, 36 37-mm. antitank guns, and 32 
antiaircraft automatic guns of any type 
available. 8 The next day, French and Ger- 
man forces already were coming to blows. 

Before long, reports from Tunisia indi- 
cated a marked stiffening of the French 
fighting spirit. This in turn suggested that 
the French had succeeded in solving the 
complex morale problem which had faced 
them in the second and third weeks of 
November. They seemed to have recovered 
from the successive psychological shocks of 
that early period: the "token" resistance 
directed against the Allies, the conflicting 
orders to which they had been subjected, 
the sudden breaking off with the mother 
country, their shift of allegiance, finally 
their being thrown into battle almost with- 
out equipment. Now they were reported to 
be doing well in combat. Gradually Gen- 
eral Eisenhower was acquiring the convic- 
tion that he could count on them. 

For the Allied commander, then, the 
immediate question was how to keep French 
units in the line in Tunisia. In his opinion 
the emergency issue of minimum equipment 
to enable them to fight must be the primary 
concern of any rearmament program. The 

8 Ibid. 



EARLY ATTEMPTS TO FORMULATE A REARMAMENT PROGRAM 25 



wholesale rehabilitation of the entire North 
African Army, a long-range issue related to 
future, unpredictable campaigns in the 
Mediterranean or in Europe, must be given 
second priority. 

Setting Up the Joint Rearmament 
Committee 

Providing equipment to the French al- 
ready was posing serious problems for Gen- 
eral Eisenhower and his headquarters, Allied 
Force Headquarters (AFHQ), established 
in Algiers shortly after the Allied landings. 
As problems kept multiplying the Allied 
Commander in Chief ordered, on 16 De- 
cember, the organization at AFHQ of a 
special agency to act both as a clearinghouse 
and as the authority responsible for develop- 
ing an armament program. He then placed 
the agency, known as the Joint Rearmament 
Committee (JRC), directly under the au- 
thority of his chief of staff. 8 The creation 
of the JRC had been urged by the Chief, 
Liaison Section, AFHQ, whom the French 
had for some time queried with mounting 
insistence regarding a variety of matters, 
such as the procurement of token issues of 
British and American equipment, probable 
dates of delivery, specifications of American 
materiel, establishment of schools of instruc- 
tion, translation of technical manuals, and 
other problems. 10 

The responsibilities and functions of the 
JRC were as follows: 

a. To centralize all equipment requests 
from the French. 

b. To develop a program for the reha- 
bilitation of the French armed forces. 

"AFHQ Staff Memo 52, 16 Dec 42, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Equip. 

10 Memo, Col Julius C. Holmes for CofS AFHQ, 
5 Dec 42, JRC 320/001 Orgn of JRC. 



c. To ensure that the executive action 
necessary to implement the approved pro- 
gram was placed with the responsible sec- 
tion of AFHQ. 

d. To undertake all matters of co-ordi- 
nation with the French authorities, the 
Lend-Lease Administration, and others con- 
cerned with the rearmament of the French. 

The committee, composed initially of 
nine members — four American, four 
French, and one British — met for the first 
time on 23 December under the chairman- 
ship of the senior U.S. member, Col. Wil- 
liam Tudor Gardiner. 11 It operated for 
approximately twenty-two months, its func- 
tions, responsibilities, membership, and 
place in the staff structure varying from 
time to time. Throughout the entire period 
the committee played a major role in the 
rehabilitation of the French African 
forces. 12 

While the JRC and its parent organiza- 
tion, AFHQ, were charged with the over- 
all problem of equipping the French from 
Allied sources, the responsibility for hand- 
ing over American materiel assigned in 
Washington rested solely with the com- 
mander of the U.S. forces in the theater. 
The responsibility was that of General 
Eisenhower, who commanded not only 
AFHQ but also Headquarters, European 
Theater of Operations, U.S. Army 
(ETOUSA), operating in London. The 
responsibility continued to be his after 3 
February 1943, when he took command of 
the newly created Headquarters, North Af- 
rican Theater of Operations, U.S. Army 
(NATOUSA), established in Algiers as a 
headquarters separate from ETOUSA. 

11 Min, JRC Mtg, 23 Dec 42, JRC 320/001 Orgn 
of JRC. 

12 For information on organization, membership, 
and activities of the JRC, see |Ch. XVTT] below. 



26 



REARMING THE FRENCH 




LT. GEN. DWIGHT D. EISEN- 
HOWER, commanding general of the 
TORCH forces. 



General Giraud Sends a Military Mission 
to Washington 

Eager to obtain from the United States 
an early decision on the provision of war 
materiel, General Giraud, in the first week 
of December, announced his intention of 
sending to Washington a military mission 
empowered to discuss with the War De- 
partment all questions of supply. General 
Eisenhower greeted the proposal with some 
skepticism. In a message to General Mar- 
shall, he pointed out that missions of this 
kind were "usually only a source of annoy- 
ance to the CCS" and could accomplish 
"little or nothing" in their dealings with 
the MAB, and that recommendations from 
his headquarters would be required in 
any case. He suggested, however, that 
the mission be allowed to proceed as 



"it might be a good thing for these people 
to realize at first hand the complications 
involved in supplying a world conflict." 13 
The JCS having approved the proposal, the 
mission, headed by Maj. Gen. Emile 
Bethouart, departed from Algiers on 20 De- 
cember. Its function, as defined by the 
French Commander in Chief, was to nego- 
tiate and expedite the delivery of materiel 
on the basis of the requirements set up by 
the French High Command and within the 
framework of agreements to be concluded 
with the U.S. Government. 14 Temporarily 
assigned to the mission was Jacques 
Lemaigre-Dubreuil, then chief of the Re- 
search Section of General Giraud's head- 
quarters, whose duty was to obtain the 
production and shipping priorities neces- 
sary for the speedy delivery of materiel 
to the French forces and, incidentally, 
to act as the French commander's civilian 
representative in the United States. Both 
General Bethouart and Mr. Lemaigre- 
Dubreuil were stanch friends of the United 
States. Members of the North African 
"dissidence" of long standing, they had, a 
month earlier, distinguished themselves in 
their valiant attempt to prevent opposition 
to the American landings. 

The mission arrived in Washington on 
24 December. 15 Throughout the war, it 
formed the principal link between the 
French High Command and the War 
Department. Liaison, however, remained 
almost its sole function as General Eisen- 
hower had foreseen. The entire responsi- 
bility for initiating and implementing the 
rearmament programs subsequently estab- 

"Msg 1812, Eisenhower to Marshall, 12 Dec 42, 
ABC 334.8 (12-4-42). 

"Memo, Giraud for Bethouart, 10 Dec 42, in 
same file. 

15 AFHQ 0100/4 SACS Red Sec, Bethouart, 
Nov 42-Jan 43. 



EARLY ATTEMPTS TO FORMULATE A REARMAMENT PROGRAM 27 



lished by decision of the CCS rested with 
the Allied Commander in Chief in the 
theater of operations. 16 

Emergency Provision of Equipment 

On 20 November the CCS approved the 
recommendation submitted two days before 
by General Eisenhower, and directed the 
MAB to assign the equipment. They 
stipulated that the United Kingdom would 
furnish the 8,000 rifles (from the stock of 
Enfields sold to the British by the United 
States after Dunkerque), in spite of some 
objection on the part of the British Chiefs 
of Staff since the transfer of these weapons 
to the French was to be effected at the 
expense of the Home Guard. In the eyes 
of the CCS, approval of this first request 
from the Allied Commander in Chief for 
the re-equipping of the French was given 
as an emergency measure. At the sugges- 
tion of the British members of the commit- 
tee, they agreed that all further similar 
requests from him would be referred to 
the MAB for action. 17 On 22 November 
the MAB assigned the equipment. In a 
sense this action marked the real start of 
the International Division's responsibility 
for French rearmament, a responsibility 
which it was to carry through to the end of 
the war. 

Some equipment had been assigned, but 
no date was yet set for its shipment. On 
12 December General Eisenhower, in a 

"In September 1943, General Giraud's mission 
and General de Gaulle's Free French Military Mis- 
sion (established in Washington in 1941), until 
then two separate agencies, merged into one single 
organization under the nam,e of French Military 
Mission in the United States. OPD 336 France, 
Sec III. 

" Min, CCS 49th Mtg, 20 Nov 42 ; Msg R-3415, 
AG WAR to USFOR, 21 Nov 42, JRC Cable Log. 




GENERAL GEORGE C. MAR- 
SHALL, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army. 



personal message to General Marshall, 
stressed the urgency of sending this equip- 
ment. He pointed out that the French 
had no antitank weapons at all, and that he 
could do little to help them because of his 
own pressing needs. "If we had available 
at once antitank and light antiaircraft 
weapons for just one French regiment, it 
would have a tremendous moral and ma- 
terial advantage. It would even help if I 
could inform Giraud that the equipment 
for several AT and AA battalions, with 
some motor transport, was being shipped 
immediately." 18 

By then General Giraud had already 
placed at the disposal of the Allied Com- 
mander in Chief for the battle of Tunisia a 



18 Msg 1825, Eisenhower to Marshall, 12 Dec 
42, JRC Cable Log. 



28 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



substantial task force commanded by Gen- 
eral Juin. This force, then numbering ap- 
proximately 7,000 men, would increase to 
40,000 combat troops within the coming 
months. For the moment, the units were 
unable, because of their still meager and 
for the most part obsolete materiel, to take 
offensive action against an enemy equipped 
with tanks and all the modern weapons of 
war. It was clear that they could be used 
only as a holding force until either adequate 
equipment or Allied reinforcements ar- 
rived. 19 Even if they were to hold their 
present positions, it was urgent that they be 
issued weapons without delay. Pending 
the arrival of the equipment ordered from 
the United States, Eisenhower turned to 
the theater for help. 

On 1 3 December he authorized the Com- 
manding General, Eastern Task Force, to 
provide French units engaged in combat 
under his command with such equipment, 
supplies, and materiel as they needed to 
conduct operations current or imminent. 
The supply of this equipment was to be on 
temporary loan without prejudice to any 
arrangements likely to be concluded with 
French authorities for the permanent re- 
equipment of their forces. A few days later 
the Allied Commander in Chief also ap- 
pealed to the Commanding General, West- 
ern Task Force, with a request to send any 
surplus equipment such as automatic rifles, 
rifles, submachine guns, and light machine 
guns for loan to French units in Tunisia. 20 

Cognizant of the fact that technical in- 
struction on the proper use of materiel was 
as important as the issue of the equipment it- 

18 For detailed information on the part played by 
the French in Tunisia, see Howe, Northwest Africa. 

Dir, Eisenhower to CG Eastern Task Force, 
13 Dec 42, AFHQ AG 400/042-C : Msg 2481, 
CinC to CG Western Task Force, 19 Dec 42, 
AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt. 



self, Eisenhower took a number of measures 
in this connection. He requested U.S. 
Fifth Army then stationed in French Mo- 
rocco to assist in organizing, equipping, and 
training French forces located within its 
zone. Simultaneously, he directed AFHQ 
to ensure that "all possible assistance" be 
given by American troops to the French 
African forces in their training with Ameri- 
can arms and equipment. Pursuant to 
these instructions, the various responsible 
commands and agencies in the theater pro- 
ceeded to establish technical training pro- 
grams and arranged to get them under way 
without delay. 21 

Finally, pending definite arrangements 
on the provision of lend-lease supplies and 
equipment to the French, the Allied Com- 
mander in Chief prescribed the manner in 
which items currently being issued to them 
on an emergency basis were to be transferred 
and accounted for. 22 

By the third week of December, no word 
had yet been received from Washington 
regarding the equipment requested on 18 
November. As the situation in Tunisia was 
growing critical, Eisenhower appealed di- 
rectly to the CCS for a decision that would 
enable him to tell General Giraud precisely 
how much equipment was being sent and 
when it would arrive. The CCS promptly 
replied, on 24 December, that the promised 
rifles would be shipped from the United 
Kingdom within forty-eight hours, and the 
antitank and antiaircraft guns as well as 
2,000 grenade launchers from the United 
States on 6 January. Only a shortage of 

sl Ltr, CinC to CG Fifth Army, 30 Dec 42, 
quoted in Fifth Armv History, I. 2, DRB AGO; 
Ltr AG 353/082 C-M, AFHQ, 31 Dec 42, AFHQ 
0100/1 2C G- 3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt, Vol. II (3); 
see pp. | 230 ff| , below. 

21 AFHQ Cir 5, 10 Jan 43, JRC 400.2/001 Admin 
of Sup — Gen. 



EARLY ATTEMPTS TO FORMULATE A REARMAMENT PROGRAM 



29 



shipping, they pointed out, prevented the 
inclusion of more materiel for the French in 
the 6 January convoy. Some 3,400 addi- 
tional weapons including machine guns, 
mortars, and howitzers were available from 
the United Kingdom and the United States 
if required. They warned, however, that 
these weapons, if shipped, would take the 
cargo space allotted to organizational equip- 
ment for Anglo-American forces in North 
Africa. They asked the Allied Commander 
in Chief to make specific recommendations 
as to the amounts and types of armament 
required for the French. 23 

Reviewing the French operational situa- 
tion as it stood at the close of the year 1 942, 
Eisenhower urged the U.S. Joint Chiefs of 
Staff to give constant consideration to the 
question of equipping and maintaining the 
French forces engaged in Tunisia as it had 
"a strong influence on morale." Their most 
immediate need, he explained, was for light 
antiaircraft and antitank equipment. Since 
these items were not bulky, he recommended 
that they be shipped to the full extent of 
space available. A few days later, General 
Eisenhower appealed once again directly to 
the CCS. "If we can provide General 
Giraud with only a few tanks and some 
additional AA and AT equipment, he may 
be able to help us when the more critical 
phase of the battle arrives. It must be clear 
to all that the enthusiastic and effective co- 
operation of the French forces is a vital 
factor in all our calculations." Having 
cabled anew for emergency deliveries of 
clothing, tentage, and other materiel, he 
felt he had done everything in his power to 
assist the French. In his judgment, the 

"Msg 2392, Eisenhower to CCS, 18 Dec 42, 
ABC ( 1 1-1 1-42 ) , Sec 1 ; Msg, CCS to Eisenhower, 
24 Dec 42, FAN 47; Memo, Maj Gen Thomas T. 
Handy for Marshall, 26 Dec 42, OPD 400 France, 
Sec I. 



problem of their re-equipping was definitely 
one for the governments of the United States 
and the United Kingdom to solve. 24 

So far, only a small amount of materiel, 
largely from U.S. sources in the theater, 
had been or was in process of being trans- 
ferred to the French, It consisted of equip- 
ment for approximately one light tank com- 
pany, two tank destroyer companies, and 
three to four antiaircraft batteries. 25 A 
number of miscellaneous weapons also had 
been turned over directly by U.S. com- 
manders in Tunisia to their French neigh- 
bors in the field. 

General Giraud Eyes the Larger Program 

While pleading for more weapons for 
his hard-pressed troops in Tunisia, General 
Giraud was giving increased attention to 
the larger armament objective, the rehabili- 
tation of all his forces. By mid-December 
members of. his staff had prepared a revised 
and more detailed version of the Mast Plan, 
based on their latest estimates of French 
capabilities. They submitted it first to 
AFHQ where it was subjected to the scru- 
tiny of the Joint Rearmament Committee. 
Later, General Bethouart handed another 
copy of it to War Department officials. 26 
The new program was slightly larger than 
the Mast Plan, the proposed number of 
divisions being raised from ten to eleven. 
Briefly it called for the delivery, in order of 
priority, of: 

21 Msg 3664, Eisenhower to Marshall, 31 Dec 42, 
AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Equip; Msg 
4141, Eisenhower to CCS, 4 Jan 43, NAF 84; 
AFHQ Commander-in-Chief's Dispatch, The North 
African Campaign: 1942-1943, pp. 29-30, copy in 
OCMH. 

23 Memo, ACofS G-3 for Gen Clark, 21 Dec 42, 
AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops. 

""Ltr, Brig Gen Roger Leyer to AFHQ, 30 
EMG/IM/S, 14 Dec 42, and Memo, Bethouart for 
WD, 26 Dec 42, JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab P. 



30 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



a. The materiel necessary to maintain 
the normal life of the North African forces, 
such as medical supplies, railway equip- 
ment, coal, gasoline, motor transport, and 
the like. 

b. The entire equipment for one army 
headquarters, two infantry corps headquar- 
ters, one armored corps headquarters, eight 
infantry divisions, three armored divisions, 
and miscellaneous tank destroyer, antiair- 
craft, and air units. 

c. The materiel for the service units and 
depots required for the support of the above 
forces. 

As the Mast Plan still had not been acted 
upon by the CCS, General Marshall trans- 
mitted the new French proposal to ASF for 
examination and again asked General 
Eisenhower for comment. The Allied 
Commander in Chief replied that the com- 
position of the forces as indicated in the 
revised program was agreeable to him. 
However, since activation, equipping, and 
training had to be governed by a long-term 
policy and be influenced by United Nations 
strategy, he felt that the last word was not 
with him but with the CCS. As for the 
suggested sequence of shipments, he 
pointed out that the phasing of any ap- 
proved program would be affected by 
changes likely to occur in the military situa- 
tion in North Africa. With regard to the 
rehabilitation of the North African Air 
Forces as proposed by the French, Eisen- 
hower, after summing up the action already 
taken in the theater, offered the following 
comment: The French, he explained, 
were reported to have sufficient personnel 
for eight hundred aircraft of various types; 
it was important for him to know if and 
when he could expect this number of air- 
craft; in the meantime he was considering 
sending selected French student pilots, 



bombardiers, gunners, and radio operators 
to training schools in the United States. 27 

The Deadlock Over a Firm Plan 

The six-week debate on French rearma- 
ment at the end of 1942 had produced no 
decisions, but it had served to define the 
points of view of the various parties con- 
cerned. The French, now definitely in 
the fight, were impatient to receive modern 
weapons of war. To them speed was the 
essential factor. As General Bethouart 
pointed out on 7 January, in the course of a 
meeting of Allied military representatives in 
Washington, equipment must be furnished 
to French troops rapidly so as to avoid their 
"complete paralysis" and to prevent a "seri- 
ous blow to morale." 28 The Allied Com- 
mander in Chief, while fully convinced of 
the French desire to fight and ready to pro- 
vide all possible material assistance, con- 
sidered French rearmament in relation to 
his over-all requirements. These, in turn, 
were conditioned by the amount of shipping 
allocated to his theater and more particu- 
larly by the current and probable opera- 
tional developments. For the moment, the 
failure of the Allied drive on Tunis and the 
rapid westward movement of the German 
forces had created an urgent need for the 
earliest possible presence in southern Tunisia 
of a strong Allied force. In General Eisen- 

21 Msg 3664, Eisenhower to Marshall, 31 Dec 42, 
AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Equip; Msg 
3503, Eisenhower to Arnold, 29 Dec 42, JRC Cable 
Log. The North African Air Forces is discussed 
in Ch. XII, below. 

28 Min, MRP 6th Mtg, 7 Jan 43, CCS 334, Mili- 
tary Representatives of Associated Pacific Powers 
(5-26-42). This was the first meeting to which 
France was invited to send representatives. (The 
name of the committee was subsequently changed 
to Military Representatives of Associated Powers.) 
The last meeting of the committee was held on 18 
June 1943. 



EARLY ATTEMPTS TO FORMULATE A REARMAMENT PROGRAM 



31 



hower's judgment, therefore, the initiation, 
at this juncture, of a full-scale, long-range 
rearmament program was untimely. This 
point was made clear in a message addressed 
to General Marshall on 3 1 December. Ex- 
cluding the needs of French troops engaged 
in combat which "must receive constant 
consideration," he set forth the shipping 
priorities for his requirements as follows: 
( 1 ) the logistical build-up, still incomplete, 
of the Anglo-American forces under his 
command; (2) the rehabilitation of the 
North African civil economy so as to prevent 
unfavorable repercussions on the political 
and military situation. 29 

War Department officials, on the other 
hand, were weighing French rearmament 
in relation to world-wide logistical commit- 
ments and in the light of its probable impact 
on the U.S. war effort. Yet their conclu- 
sions regarding the practicability of a large- 
scale French rearmament program were 
almost identical, for reasons quite apart, 
with those of the Allied Commander in 
Chief. The report which the Logistics 
Division of Army Service Forces issued on 
9 January on the implications of Bethouart' s 
proposal pointed out that American produc- 
tion would probably make it possible to 
equip the 272,000 troops required under the 
French program, and to equip and maintain 
the U.S. troops already overseas or planned 
for shipment abroad in 1943. However, 
equipping the French would interfere seri- 
ously with equipping units in the United 
States. Furthermore, the shipping neces- 
sary to float equipment for the French had 
to be provided principally by the United 
States. This would defer the shipment of 
approximately 250,000 to 270,000 Ameri- 
can troops to the Mediterranean theater in 

M Msg 3664, Eisenhower to Marshall, 31 Dec 42, 
AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Equip. 



1943 and interfere considerably with the 
equipping and maintaining of U.S. troops 
already in the theater, unless convoy restric- 
tions were relaxed and port capacities aug- 
mented. In the light of these considera- 
tions, the report recommended, in part, that 
the equipping of American troops in North 
Africa take priority over that of the French; 
that only those French troops be activated 
and equipped which could be utilized in 
Allied operations; and that their initial 
equipping be restricted to the minimum re- 
quired for their maintenance and training. 30 

To the CCS, finally, French rearmament 
was a matter to be viewed in relation to its 
likely effect on global strategy. A program 
of the size proposed by General Bethouart 
was bound to cut across the lines of Anglo- 
American logistical plans. The question, 
to the CCS, boiled down to this : would the 
commitment, if accepted, be feasible in view 
of the world-wide shipping situation? If 
so, what would its strategic advantage be? 

Shipping, then, and not production — ex- 
cept in the case of some critical items of 
equipment — would be the main factor to be 
considered in drawing up any large-scale 
French rearmament program. This was 
made unmistakably clear to General 
Bethouart and Mr. Lemaigre-Dubreuil 
when, on 10 January, they called on As- 
sistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, 
himself a stanch proponent of French re- 
armament. "Every American," Mr. Mc- 
Cloy declared, was "anxious that there 
should be a strong French Army in North 
Africa." But it was well not to lose sight 
of the enormous difficulties involved. As 
an illustration he pointed out that to float 
the equipment necessary for eleven divisions, 
exclusive of all other materiel listed in the 



J ° Rpt, Logistics Div SOS, 9 Jan 43, ASF Planning 
Div A-47-147. 



32 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



Bethouart program, would require 325 
cargo vessels. These, quite simply, were not 
available. 31 

Increasingly alarmed over the severe 
losses incurred by his ill-equipped forces in 
Tunisia, General Giraud was prone to brush 
aside the unfavorable logistics of the situ- 
ation facing the Allied Commander in 
Chief. In an effort to dispeLhis apparent 
misconception of the facts, Maj. Gen. Wal- 
ter Bedell Smith, Chief of Staff, AFHQ, 
accompanied by the British and American 
political representatives in the theater, 
called on him on 12 January. General 
Smith described the "extraordinary efforts" 
made by the Allies to overcome the many ob- 
stacles hampering the delivery of arma- 
ment. He referred to the inadequacy of 
port and railroad facilities, the limitations 
of shipping and other obstacles. General 
Giraud then countered that all available 
French merchant shipping was being 
turned over to the Allied shipping pool. 
Some of it, he insisted, ought to be used to 
transport equipment for his forces. 32 

The next day, 13 January, Mr. Lemai- 
gre-Dubreuil was leaving Washington for 
Algiers, his mission completed. In the 
course of his talks with State Department 
officials, he had stressed the political as- 
pect of French rearmament. General 
Giraud, he had pointed out, was primarily 
concerned with bringing Frenchmen back 

31 Min, Conf McCloy with Bethouart and 
Lemaigre-Dubreuil, 10 Jan 43, JRC Misc Doc, 
Item 5-a. 

32 Msg 3585, Eisenhower (from Murphy) to 
CCS, 13 Jan 43, NAF 100. 



into active participation in the war. To 
succeed, he was dependent on the fulfill- 
ment of a number of conditions, moral as 
well as material. Among the latter was the 
speedy issue of U.S. equipment to his troops. 
At a time when General Giraud and Gen- 
eral de Gaulle were discussing the unifi- 
cation of their forces, it was imperative that 
Giraud's hand be strengthened by all pos- 
sible means. In Mr. Lemaigre-Dubreuil's 
opinion, only then could the French Com- 
mander in Chief pursue the war with max- 
imum efficiency, dispel French anxiety, and 
establish himself as the leader of French 
military resistance. 33 

That General Giraud was fully confident 
of the intent and ability of the United States 
to re-equip his forces cannot be doubted. 
Answering a New Year's message from 
President Roosevelt, he declared: 

The responsibility which I assume is made 
much lighter by the military support brought 
by the United States and the Allied Nations 
and by the promise of help which you were 
kind enough to send me. Thanks to Amer- 
ican materiel, the restored French Army will 
be able to resume at the side of the United 
Nations a strong and effective action for the 
liberation of France and of Europe, and for 
the achievement of a just peace. 34 

Still, by mid-January, approximately ten 
weeks after the Allied landings, no decision 
was yet in sight on "the subject closest to 
Giraud's heart. 38 

33 Msg 1049, Marshall to Eisenhower (State Dept 
for Murphy), 13 Jan 43, JRC Cable Log. 

"Msg 3731, AFHQ to AGWAR (Giraud for 
President), 1 Jan 43, AFHQ AG Sec 336.91. 

35 Msg 3585 cited n. 32. 



CHAPTER II 

The Anfa Agreement 



Franco-Anglo- American Conversations 

The question of French rearmament, 
both immediate and long range, drew con- 
siderable attention from the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff when, having shifted the 
scene of their next deliberations from Wash- 
ington to French Morocco, they assembled 
for the sessions of the Casablanca Confer- 
ence. Presiding over the conference held 
at Anfa, a suburb of Casablanca, from 14 to 
26 January 1943, were President Roosevelt 
and Prime Minister Churchill. Both Gen- 
erals Giraud and de Gaulle were expected 
to attend. In inviting them, the President 
and the Prime Minister had intended to 
bring them together in the hope that they 
would conclude an agreement on the unifi- 
cation of their forces. General Giraud 
reached Anfa on 17 January and immedi- 
ately began a series of consultations with 
the President, the Prime Minister, General 
Marshall, Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, 
Commanding General, Army Service 
Forces, and others. The head of the Free 
French at first declined to come to the 
meeting. This rebuff angered Churchill, 
who had given strong backing to the Gaul- 
list group, and prompted both him and the 
President to question "whether or not 
de Gaulle was a leader who merited their 
support." 1 The general finally relented 
and, on 22 January, toward the end of the 

'Miri, Anfa 2d Mtg, 18 Jan 43, Casablanca 
Conf. (See [Bibliographical Note.)| 



conference, left London for Anfa where he 
met briefly with Allied officials and with 
General Giraud. 

At their first meeting, held on 15 January, 
the CCS heard General Eisenhower himself 
stress the urgency of providing immediate 
assistance to the North African units en- 
gaged in Tunisia. Called upon to report on 
the latest developments in the campaign 
there, the Allied Commander in Chief em- 
phasized that a serious situation would de- 
velop if the French were unable, for lack of 
equipment, to stand firmly on the line they 
now held between the British in the north 
and the Americans in the south. 2 

To the CCS the two issues of immediate 
and long-range assistance to the French 
could not be separated. In their judgment, 
the question was simply this: how much 
rearmament and how soon? To answer, 
they had first to determine what use they 
intended to make of the North African 
forces, and this, in turn, depended on how 
much they were prepared to trust these 
forces. British and Americans were in 
sharp disagreement over this particular 
point. The British seemed hesitant to rely 
on an army which until recent weeks had 
remained obstinately loyal to Marshal 
Petain's government, in their eyes a de- 
featist, even pro-German, regime. The 
Americans, although they had cause to be 
resentful after the costly resistance put up by 

' Min, CCS 57th Mtg, 15 Jan 43, Casablanca 
Conf. 



34 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



that same army in November 1942, never- 
theless were willing to forget the distasteful 
episode and accept the pledges of the new 
ally at their face value. The U.S. Joint 
Chiefs of Staff had discussed this matter of 
trust in the North African forces. Admiral 
Ernest J. King had urged his colleagues to 
"insist" on making the "maximum use" of 
these forces by giving them appropriate 
tasks and relying on them to carry through 
their assignments. He realized that there 
would be "some British opposition," and he 
considered it essential to convince the British 
Chiefs of Staff of the "necessity of trusting 
the French fully." 3 

Two subsequent CCS meetings under- 
lined the reluctance of the British to place 
full confidence in the North African forces 
and as a result their disinclination to con- 
sider more than a limited rearmament. On 
16 January, General Marshall, speaking for 
the JCS, voiced the belief that the French 
could be used effectively and economically. 
He proposed therefore that selected divi- 
sions be re-equipped as soon as practicable. 
Field Marshal Sir Alan F. Brooke, Chief of 
the Imperial General Staff, agreed on maxi- 
mum employment of the North African 
forces, but regarded their usefulness as con- 
fined largely to "garrison work." The pos- 
sibility of wider employment, he thought, 
would depend greatly on whether a satis- 
factory government could be established in 
North Africa, for good leadership was re- 
quired to "rekindle in the French the desire 
to fight." 1 

At the next CCS meeting, held two days 
later and attended by the President and the 
Prime Minister, Roosevelt urged that every 

'Min, JCS 50th Mtg, 13 Jan 43, Casablanca 
Conf. F or a list o f the British and U.S. Chiefs of 
Staff, see Ipage 10| above, 

4 Min, CCS 58th Mtg, 16 Jan 43, Casablanca 
Conf. 



effort be made to provide equipment for 
the army of 250,000 men which General 
Giraud expected to raise. Field Marshal 
Brooke then observed that the British forces 
in North Africa had offered to transfer to 
the French some used tanks once they them- 
selves had received their new American ve- 
hicles. The proposal elicited from General 
Marshall the remark that the North African 
units must be given "the best equipment 
obtainable." This, he continued, he pro- 
posed to provide out of U.S. resources sub- 
ject to shipping limitations. If the Allies 
intended to equip the French, he pointed 
out, they must make "good units" of them. 5 

Apparently concerned over the diver- 
gence between the British and American 
attitudes toward General Giraud's forces, 
Admiral King brought up the subject at a 
meeting of the JCS on 19 January. He 
again urged his colleagues to place full 
confidence in these forces and to equip them 
as rapidly as possible. General Marshall 
agreed, saying that he thought it "imprac- 
ticable to go halfway with the French." 
They must be trusted "either completely or 
not at all." Personally, he had "every 
reason" to believe that certain divisions, 
when equipped, would be excellent. He 
felt that the objections to placing full confi- 
dence in the North African forces were 
based on technical matters rather than on 
anything else. True, he foresaw difficulties 
as to control or command, but he was cer- 
tain that such difficulties could be overcome 
as they arose. 6 

Later that same morning, the CCS heard 
General Marshall declare that he was in 
favor of proceeding with a definite rearma- 

5 Min, Anfa 2d Mtg, 18 Jan 43, Casablanca 
Conf. 

"Min, JCS 55th Mtg, 19 Jan 43, Casablanca 
Conf. 



THE ANFA AGREEMENT 



35 



merit program for the North African forces. 
Such an undertaking would of course imply 
acceptance by the French of Allied organi- 
zation and training methods and would 
inevitably delay the progress of equipping 
U.S. forces. He considered, however, that 
the undertaking should be carried out 
"wholeheartedly." He was prepared, sub- 
ject to General Eisenhower's views, to mod- 
ify the American logistical program in order 
to equip French forces up to a strength of 
250,000 men. The necessary materiel 
would be provided at the expense of U.S. 
units forming in America. He proposed to 
ship it to North Africa in French bottoms. 
General Somervell disclosed that General 
Giraud had agreed to turn over to the Allied 
shipping pool 160,000 tons of shipping of 
which he expected about 75,000 tons 
to be earmarked for transportation of 
equipment to his forces. Somervell esti- 
mated that this would make it possible to 
equip approximately one division per 
month. 7 

The most important debate on French 
rearmament took place on the afternoon 
of the same day. Appearing before the 
CCS at their invitation, General Giraud 
outlined his plans for the rehabilitation of 
his forces. He explained that with the 
cadres then at his disposal he could form 
an army of thirteen divisions, including 
three armored and ten motorized infantry 
divisions. In addition, he wished to raise 
as "an indispensable accompaniment to a 
modern army," an air force consisting of 
50 fighter squadrons, 30 light bomber 
squadrons, and a number of transport 
squadrons — with a total of 1 ,000 airplanes. 
He was fully aware, he admitted, of the 

' Min, CCS 61st Mtg, 19 Jan 43, Casablanca 
Conf. 



serious difficulties that his program would 
involve, considering the shortage of ship- 
ping and the needs of other United Nations 
forces. He felt confident, however, that 
the French Army, if properly equipped, 
could make a great contribution to the 
European campaign. 

Speaking for the U.S. Army, General 
Marshall asserted that he had undertaken 
to determine how quickly modern equip- 
ment could be provided for the North 
African forces. He then proceeded to out- 
line the steps already taken in this connec- 
tion by various American authorities. 
Admiral King had begun discussions with 
French naval officers on the shipping ques- 
tion. General Arnold had conferred with 
French aviation personnel on the provision 
of air force equipment. General Somervell 
had examined with General Giraud the 
problem of delivery of materiel. Two 
points still remained to be taken up with 
the French Commander in Chief, namely, 
the desired priority of items and the pro- 
cedure for equipping his units. General 
Marshall then emphasized that it was to 
the interest of the United States to bring 
the North African forces to a high state of 
efficiency. It was "not a question of 
whether to equip the French Army, but 
rather of how to do it." Transport, he 
pointed out in conclusion, and not avail- 
ability of equipment was the limiting 
factor. 

Whether they were impressed by the de- 
termination evident in General Giraud's 
statements or reluctant to appear unfriendly 
to the French in his presence, the British 
members of the CCS expressed great sym- 
pathy for his aims. While they made no 
specific commitments, at least they raised no 
objection to the principle of rearmament. 
Speaking for the British Chiefs of Staff, 



36 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



Field Marshal Brooke assured the conferees 
that he fully realized the important part 
which General Giraud's forces would play 
in bringing the war to a successful end. 
The British, he asserted, would do what 
they could within the more limited resources 
at their disposal to provide modern equip- 
ment. Admiral Sir Dudley Pound then 
declared that, in view of the growing 
U-boat menace, the help of the French 
naval forces would be most welcome. As 
for the French air forces, Air Chief Marshal 
Sir Charles Portal expressed the hope that 
they would be equipped as soon as possible 
to fight once more alongside the Allies. He 
too felt sure that, within the limits of British 
resources already considerably strained, the 
United Kingdom would do everything pos- 
sible to hasten the day of this collaboration. 
Field Marshal Sir John Dill closed the dis- 
cussion by declaring that it was "a matter 
of great pleasure" to have General Giraud 
back to lead France to victory. 8 

By this time, the Americans had made un- 
mistakably clear their stand on the rearma- 
ment issue. Confident of the ability of the 
North African forces to put up a good fight, 
they were determined to see these forces 
used to the maximum and, to this end, 
rearmed fully and speedily. Eager to trans- 
late this determination into action, General 
Marshall, on 23 January, proposed that the 
JCS set forth a policy with respect to the 
contemplated employment of the North 
African forces, and the scale of equipment 
to be provided. 8 

s Min, CCS 62d Mtg, 19 Jan 43, Casablanca 
Conf. Field Marshal Dill was head of the British 
Joint Staff Mission and senior British member of 
the CCS organization. He took part in the CCS 
meetings as a representative of the Minister of 
Defence (Mr. Churchill). 

9 Memo, CofS for JCS, 23 Jan 43, JCS 206. 



President Roosevelt and General Giraud 
Negotiate an Agreement 

The issue was settled on 24 January 
when the President, having taken the mat- 
ter in his own hands, reached an agreement 
with General Giraud which, in principle 
at least, committed the United States to a 
program of rearmament. This unexpected 
action on his part was the culmination of 
exchanges of views between himself and 
the French Commander in Chief regarding 
the French situation in general and the 
rearmament question in particular. 10 These 
informal meetings had proceeded in an at- 
mosphere of mutual confidence. Appar- 
ently disregarding the adverse criticism of 
General Giraud's ability as an administra- 
tor which had just reached him, 11 the 
President had shown keen understanding of 
the many difficult problems then facing the 
French Commander in Chief and expressed 
great interest in his plans for the reorganiza- 
tion and rearmament of the African forces. 
On the basis of these and other discussions, 
and in line with his statements before the 
CCS, General Giraud had prepared a mem- 

10 President Roosevelt and General Giraud ap- 
pear to have met three times during the Casablanca 
Conference. The first meeting was on 17 Jan- 
uary, 1630-1730 hours, and was attended by Cap- 
tain Beaufre, then Giraud's military aide. After 
this meeting, General Giraud had a short inter- 
view with the British Prime Minister. The second 
meeting, on 19 January, about 1200 hours, was 
attended by Harry L. Hopkins, Mr. Murphy, Lt. 
Col. Elliott Roosevelt, Capt. John L. McCrea 
(USN), and Captain Beaufre. The third, on 24 
January, appears to have been a brief one with 
no other participants present, before the meeting 
at which Churchill and de Gaulle were also present. 
It is to be noted that the Prime Minister did not 
take part in these Giraud-Roosevelt meetings. In- 
terv with Col Beaufre, Sep 50; Robert E. Sher- 
wood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History 
(New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948), Ch. 
XXVII. 

11 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins. Ch. XXVII. 



THE ANFA AGREEMENT 



37 




MEETING AT CASABLANCA, 24 JANUARY 1943. From left: General Henri 
Giraud, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, General Charles de Gaulle, and Prime Minister 
Winston Churchill. 



orandum embodying the substance of his 
several conversations and submitted it for 
the President's concurrence. 12 The Presi- 



" Title of the memorandum: Resume of the 
Agreements in Principle Resulting From the Con- 
versations at Anfa. Complete text in English and 
in French in OPD Exec 1, Item 13, 

The exact time at which General Giraud sub- 
mitted this memorandum has yet to be determined. 
At any rate, this was one of two memorandums 
submitted by the general to the President and 
approved by the latter in the course of their meet- 
ing of 24 January. Both later became known as 
the Anfa Agreements. The second memorandum, 
the text of which had been prepared by Mr. Le- 
maigre-Dubreuil, was a resume and a synthesis of 



dent, on 24 January, recorded his approval 
on the margin of the memorandum. 

The part of the memorandum pertaining 
to rearmament, together with the Presi- 

the conversations just ended in Washington be- 
tween the French representative and the Depart- 
ment of State regarding the political relationship 
between General Giraud and the Anglo-American 
authorities subsequent to the Allied intervention in 
North Africa. In effect it officially sanctioned the 
Murphy-Giraud agreements of 2 November and 
officially recognized General Giraud as the sole 
military "trustee" of French interests. 

Copies in English of both memorandums were 
sent to General Giraud on 24 January and to 
General Eisenhower on 28 January. 



38 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



dent's marginal comments, was known 
thereafter as the Anfa Plan. 13 It read as 
follows : 

It has been agreed between the President 
of the United States and General Giraud 
that the French forces will receive, by priority, 
the equipment which is indispensable to them 
and that this shall be made up of the most 
modern materiel. 

In subsequent talks with General Marshall 
and General Somervell, it was agreed that the 
delivery would amount to materiel for three 
armored divisions and eight motorized divi- 
sions as well as for a first-line air force con- 
sisting of five hundred fighters, three hundred 
bombers and two hundred transport planes, 
and that of this equipment, there would be 
delivered in the weeks to come four hundred 
trucks and the equipment for two armored 
regiments, three reconnaissance battalions, 
three battalions of tank destroyers and three 
motorized divisions, and such of the aviation 
equipment as can come by air. 

In regard to transport, it has been agreed 
with General Somervell that the resupplying 
of French Africa would be assured by the 
monthly allocation of 65,000 tons (50,000 
tons of wheat, 12,000 tons of sugar, and 3,000 
tons of fabrics) and that the shipment of the 
materiel would be effected before next sum- 
mer. France would furnish to the interallied 
pool 165,000 tons of shipping and the allies 
would furnish the remainder necessary for 
the delivery to be completed within the agreed 
time. The aviation materiel [coal and fuel 
excepted] would be sent, as far as possible, bv 
air. 1J 

1J The rest of the memorandum dealt with minor 
financial and political problems. 

" The phrase "coal and fuel excepted" was omit- 
ted in the official English translation. Incidentally, 
this version (as distinguished from the one, correct 
in all respects, prepared by General Bethouart's 
staff) contained at least two errors in translation: 
"etofTes" 1 (fabrics) was incorrectly rendered as 
"materiel," and the words "lc transport du ma- 
teriel" (the shipment of the materiel) was im- 
properly translated as "the shipment of this 
material," thereby giving the erroneous impression 
that only the shipment of civilian supplies (wheat, 
sugar and the like) would be effected before the 
summer. 



Basically the Anfa Plan did not differ 
greatly from the pre-ToRCH Mast Plan 
which called for ten divisions. It was some- 
what less ambitious than the thirteen-divi- 
sion program outlined by General Giraud 
himself in the course of his appearance be- 
fore the CCS. 1 ' In practice, it was a re- 
statement of the eleven-division program 
submitted by General Bethouart to the War 
Department on 26 December, except that 
the air portion of the new plan was sub- 
stantially larger. 

Well might General Giraud rejoice. 
After weeks of anxious waiting, he had at 
last a definite promise of American assist- 
ance. The Chief Executive of the United 
States Government himself had sanctioned 
the principle of French rearmament and 
had agreed to a target of eleven divisions 
plus a substantial air force. Greatly en- 
couraged by the turn of events, the French 
Commander in Chief returned to Algiers 
eager to expedite the reorganization of his 
forces in anticipation of the delivery of the 
much-needed materiel. 

Clarification of the Agreement 

The ink was hardly dry on the Anfa Plan 
when its far-reaching implications became 
the subject of considerable speculation. 
Some commitment had clearly been made 
by the President, but precisely what? 
Moreover, how would the British, who had 
so conspicuously not been consulted, react? 
There was no evidence that the Prime 
Minister, who had not been invited to 
attend the Roosevelt-Giraud conversations, 
had even discussed the rearmament prob- 
lem with the President. When on 5 Feb- 

ls It is most likely that, during his various con- 
sultations at Anfa, the general was made aware 
of the impracticability of a thirteen-division pro- 
gram. 



THE ANFA AGREEMENT 



39 



ruary, two weeks after the close of the Casa- 
blanca Conference, Mr. Churchill chanced 
to be in Algiers, he did not fail to point out 
to Mr. Murphy this and other political and 
military implications of the Anfa Agree- 
ments. He emphasized in particular that 
General de Gaulle, the then protege of the 
British Government, had been practically 
left out of the new Franco-Anglo-American 
relationship. In an attempt to meet the 
Prime Minister's objections, Mr. Murphy 
revised the text of the agreements and sub- 
mitted a single memorandum to General 
Giraud. The French Commander in Chief 
endorsed the new document, a copy of 
which was cabled to the Foreign Office, 
and to Washington where the President ap- 
proved it on 22 April. The text of the 
Anfa Plan reappeared as Part II of the 
new memorandum and was worded as 
follows : 

1. On the military plane it has been agreed 
between the President of the United States 
and the British Prime Minister on the one 
hand and General Giraud on the other that 
the French forces will receive equipment 
which is indispensable and with that priority 
which their military situation demands and 
as may be determined by the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff, and this shall be made of the 
most modern materiel. 

2. [Same as in original agreement.] 16 
Although a belated party to the rearma- 



19 Title of the new memo: Memo of the Points 
Agreed Upon at the Casablanca Conference Be- 
tween the President of the U.S. and the British 
Prime Minister on the One Hand, and General 
Giraud on the Other. Text in Crusoe, Vicissitudes 
d'une Victoire (Paris: Les Editions de l'Ame 
Francaise [1&46]), p. 147. The copy approved by 
the President: Memo, Brig Gen John R. Deane 
for JCS, 22 Apr 43, OPD 400 France, Sec 1. 

The main difference between the original and 
the new document was that the latter limited the 
trusteeship of General Giraud to the territories of 
North and West Africa, thus leaving General de 
Gaulle in control of other areas, pending an ulti- 
mate fusion of the two administrations. 



ment agreement, the British at any rate 
were now fully informed as to the scope of 
the commitment. 

Another serious question arose as soon 
as American officials responsible for imple- 
menting armament programs began exam- 
ining the Anfa Plan in relation to world- 
wide strategy, other armament commit- 
ments, production, and shipping. How 
binding was the agreement just concluded? 
Was it really an agreement "in principle" 
only? If so, emphasis could reasonably be 
placed on the spirit rather than the letter 
of the text, and a rearmament program 
established in the light of, and in proper 
relation with, the many aspects involved. 
Or was it, as the French were already in- 
sisting, a firm commitment to a specific 
program? There was of course the possi- 
bility that the President, although quite 
conversant with the French language, had 
not realized that the words "Oui en prin- 
cipe" as written by him in the margin of 
the original document had a much stronger 
meaning than the less binding translation 
"yes in principle" subsequently used in the 
official English text. 

Ten days after the conclusion of the 
agreement, General Bethouart, at the re- 
quest of the French Commander in Chief, 
called on General Marshall to discuss the 
implementation of the Anfa Plan. The 
conversation, from the outset, elicited con- 
siderable surprise on both sides. General 
Marshall first informed his caller that he 
had not yet been advised by the President 
of any specific agreements with General 
Giraud other than the confirmation of what 
he himself had already assured the French 
Commander in Chief during their conver- 
sations at Anfa, namely, that the United 
States would proceed with the greatest 
speed to equip his troops and that the mat- 



40 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



ter of cargo space, character of equipment 
as to priorities of shipment, and the like 
would be determined later. 17 General 
Marshall then assured General Bethouart 
that he did not contest the principle of 
French rearmament. Generals Eisenhower 
and Clark and Maj. Gen. George S. Patton, 
Jr., whom he had consulted, all agreed that 
North African units could be made effective 
for battle provided they received modern 
equipment. It was a foregone conclusion, 
he continued, that the Americans would 
feel justified in delaying the organization 
of U.S. divisions now on the War Depart- 
ment program in favor of equipping French 
divisions overseas. However, he pointed 
out, there were practical and technical 
aspects of the problem to be taken into con- 
sideration. The rearmament of the French 
would have to be undertaken in the light 
of other similar commitments, as the war 
was being fought on many fronts through- 
out the world. In addition, it was agreed 
that the requirements of materiel for the 
North African Army should be met, both 
in quality and quantity, under the same 
conditions as those of the U.S. Army. 
Hence it was obvious that the provision of 
such materiel must be made according to 
an order of priority to be determined for 
the whole of the United Nations forces. 
Finally, there was shipping to be reckoned 
with. At the present time, he explained, it 
was not possible to determine delivery dates 
with any exactness. But, since it was con- 
sidered important that at least a part of 
the French forces be re-equipped at once, 

" Genera! Marshall was absent from Casablanca 
during the last days of the conference and had not 
seen the President since his return to Washington. 
The first knowledge he had of any agreement was 
when General Bethouart handed him, in the course 
of the above interview, a memo on the subject as 
well as a copy of the Anfa Agreements. 



War Department officials were taking steps 
to have materiel ready to fill available 
cargo space. 13 

On 5 February, the Combined Chiefs 
of Staff, meeting in Washington, examined 
the status of the negotiations on French 
rearmament. Lt. Gen. George N. Mac- 
ready inquired, on behalf of the British 
Chiefs of Staff, whether any agreement on 
the matter had been reached at the Casa- 
blanca Conference. General Marshall ex- 
plained that "a favorable view" had been 
taken by Generals Eisenhower, Patton, and 
Clark regarding the "potentialities" of the 
North African forces but that no decision 
had been reached with regard to what 
equipment should be sent. 19 Shipping, he 
pointed out, would be the limiting factor. 
One of the effects of providing equipment 
to the French, concluded General Marshall, 
would be to delay equipping U.S. units. 
The CCS then agreed that they should, as 
soon as possible, give guidance to the 
Munitions Assignments Board with respect 
to French rearmament. 20 

In the theater, officials of Allied Force 
Headquarters also were discussing the im- 
plications of the Anfa Plan. On 6 Feb- 
ruary, pending further instructions from 
Washington, the chief of staff, General 
Smith, issued the following statement: 
"The President's promises to General Gi- 
raud deal with matters which are beyond 
General Eisenhower's scope because they 

" Min, Marshall-Bethouart Mtg, 3 Feb 43, JRC 
902/11 Rearmt Plan; Memo, Marshall for McCloy, 
4 Feb 43, OCS A-45-523 (France). 

18 It is most likely that General Marshall, who 
had been apprised only two days before by General 
Bethouart of the Giraud -Roosevelt agreement in 
principle, had not yet talked to the President to 
ascertain the facts regarding that commitment. 

General Macready was a member of the British 
Joint Staff Mission in Washington. 

20 Min, CCS 70th Mtg, 5 Feb 43. 



THE ANFA AGREEMENT 



41 



involve additional tonnage which has not 
yet been allocated to him. General Giraud 
must deal with these matters with Wash- 
ington through the Bethouart Mission." 21 
In the opinion of the Allied Commander 
in Chief, therefore, it was clearly up to the 
CCS and the War Department to carry out 
the Anfa Plan, and to arrange for the 
necessary additional tonnage. 

General Giraud, meanwhile, on his re- 
turn from Casablanca had publicly pro- 
claimed that he had been promised 
"substantial equipment to arrive by the 
summer." Subsequently his staff submit- 
ted a request for the immediate shipment 
of the materiel constituting the first part 
of the Anfa Plan. The Joint Rearmament 
Committee was then working on a schedule 
of shipments based on the allocation of 
25,000 tons per convoy which General 
Eisenhower had approved on 26 January as 
being "the maximum tonnage which could 
be spared for French military equipment." 
The figure, incidentally, represented about 
one sixteenth of the total maximum ton- 
nage per convoy (approximately 400,000 
tons ) . It was somewhat lower than the 
figure of 30,000-35,000 tons allocated for 
civilian consumer goods as a result of Eisen- 
hower's decision to place the requirements 
of the North African economy above 
those of the French military. Considering 
that convoys were contemplated at the 
rate of about one per month, the 25,000 
tons thus allocated monthly to French 
military requirements would permit no 
more than a start on the rearmament pro- 
gram before the summer. 22 On 10 Febru- 

JI Memo, DCofS AFHQ for Liaison Sec, 6 Feb 
43, JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan. 

21 As an illustration, 25,000 tons (or less than 
three cargo ships) represent no more than the 
vehicles of the three infantry regiments and divi- 
sional artillery of a division. FM-101-10, Staff 



ary General Bethouart informed General 
Giraud that, as now envisaged by the War 
Department, the composition of the next 
shipments under the 25,000-ton allocation 
was to be limited to 400 vehicles and the 
medical and training equipment requested 
on 26 December. He added, however, that 
War Department officials had undertaken 
a study of the "possibility" of equipping a 
first increment consisting of three divisions, 
a few tank battalions, and corresponding 
antitank and antiaircraft units. Delivery 
dates had yet to be determined, as ship- 
ments were dependent on production and 
shipping. 23 

These and other disclosures brought 
General Giraud's rejoicing to a sudden end. 
Greatly disturbed because the re-equipping 
of his troops was not being pushed with 
more vigor, the French Commander in 
Chief called on General Eisenhower on 16 
February and made "strong representa- 
tions." Believing the Anfa Agreements to 
be a firm commitment, Giraud expected at 
least the first part of the plan to be ac- 
complished without delay. Under the al- 
location of 25,000 tons per convoy, the 
eleven-division target set at Anfa would 
never be reached. The negligible material 
assistance now offered by the Americans 
was inconsistent with his recent under- 
standing with the President and General 
Marshall. Moreover, it gave credence to a 

Officers' Field Manual: Organization, Technical, 
and Logistical Data, 1941. 

Msgs 1453, Eisenhower to OPD and Marshall, 
17 Feb 43, 7433, Eisenhower to Marshall, 26 Jan 
43, and 1 768, Marshall to Eisenhower, 3 Feb 43, 
JRC Cable Log; Msg 3664, Eisenhower to Mar- 
shall, 31 Dec 42, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops 
Fr Equip; Memo, International Div ASF for OCT, 
26 Anr 43. ASF ID 400.318 France, Free Fr, Vol. 1. 

" ;1 Ltr, Bethouart to Giraud, 10 Feb 43, and 
Memo, Styer for Eisenhower, 10 Feb 43, JRC 
902/11 Rearmt Plan. 



42 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



rumor that had lately reached him, to the 
effect that it was the policy of the American 
government not to equip his forces in such 
a manner as to permit them to take part 
in overseas operations, but to furnish them 
only materiel sufficient to defend North 
Africa. If that was the American intent, 
he would withdraw from his position as 
French Commander in Chief. 24 

General Eisenhower, reporting Giraud's 
stand, urged the War Department to set 
forth a definite policy which would enable 
him to deal with the French Commander 
in Chief. He needed to know in particular 
in how many monthly increments the com- 
mitment made at Anfa could be met. His 
staff could then determine shipping priori- 
ties and proceed intelligently with the re- 
armament of forces available for immediate 
combat as well as those later to be employed. 
In the meantime, he was reassuring Gen- 
eral Giraud, on his own authority, that the 
Allied governments had "no disposition 
other than to carry through their original 
promises" and that it was "their intent and 
desire" that the North African forces par- 
ticipate in the liberation of France. Stress- 
ing the urgent need for immediate action, 
General Eisenhower added this grave 
warning: "I have here to face the insinua- 
tion that we are not straight -forward, that 
we are long on promises and short on 
performances. . . . This impression must be 
dispelled before the situation deterio- 
rates." 25 

To make his position unmistakably 

"Msg 1453 cited ln. 22l The rumor, allegedly 
of American origin, had been picked up in Algiers 
by French officers. Approached on the matter, 
Mr. McCloy hastened to furnish formal assurance 
to the French that the rumor was without founda- 
tion. Memo, Jacques Tarbe de Saint-Hardouin 
for Bethouart, 26 Fe b 43, PC S A-45-523 (France) . 

M Msg 1453 cited | n. 22. | 



clear, General Eisenhower, on the same 
day, sent a personal message to General 
Marshall. He stressed his own and Gen- 
eral Giraud's concern over the serious re- 
sults likely to follow from American 
failure to deliver equipment. He feared 
a further lowering of morale among French 
units and a corresponding weakening of 
General Giraud's hold on his army. Dis- 
content was already rampant among the 
troops fighting in Tunisia. They contended 
that, just as in 1940, they had been sent 
to battle without proper equipment with 
the result that they were suffering heavy 
losses. It was difficult for them to reconcile 
this situation with General Giraud's re- 
peated optimistic statements following his 
return from Casablanca. Prompt action, 
asserted General Eisenhower, was impera- 
tive to fulfill in part the "obligation implied 
at Anfa." The "immediate situation" 
could be met, he suggested, if about 1 00,000 
tons of military supplies and equipment 
were earmarked for delivery from the 
United States during the following two or 
three months. If this action was supple- 
mented by a definite schedule for future 
deliveries, "the matter would be settled." 
The necessary tonnage, he explained, would 
have to be provided by General Somervell 
from shipping at his disposal including 
French tonnage. With a probable refer- 
ence to those officials who might be object- 
ing to French rearmament on the ground 
that it was politically inopportune, Eisen- 
hower concluded with this pointed observa- 
tion: "The plan for equipping eleven 
divisions has no relationship to the great 
question of whether France shall be re- 
armed after the war. The latter would be 
a gigantic undertaking covering many 
years." 26 

"Ibid.; Msg 1620, OPD Algiers to AGWAR, 



THE ANFA AGREEMENT 



43 



In a subsequent message addressed to 
the Secretary of State for transmittal to 
President Roosevelt, Mr. Murphy corrobo- 
rated General Eisenhower's disclosure of 
the critical situation arising from the rearm- 
ament issue. The French, asserted Mr. 
Murphy, were manifesting a growing feel- 
ing that they were being "hoodwinked." 
They had listened with "respectful cre- 
dence" to repeated announcements of U.S. 
armament production. On the other hand 
they realized fully the seriousness of the 
shipping problem. But what they could 
not understand was that three months after 
the landings in North Africa, during which 
time the Allies had of necessity depended 
on them for many things, no evidence of a 
substantial armament program was yet in 
sight. Mr. Murphy then reviewed the mili- 
tary and political implications of the cur- 
rent fumbling on French rearmament. The 
security of the North African base required 
that the fighting spirit of the French be 
stimulated. Instead there was a growing 
fear among them that France would be "ex- 
cluded from real participation in the peace 
settlement." In addition, General Giraud's 
forces, aware that the Gaullist troops had re- 
ceived modern equipment from the British, 
were now looking more and more toward 
the United Kingdom for practical encour- 
agement. Finally the French Commander 
in Chief felt that "somewhere along the line" 
there was "opposition if not deception." 
The American political adviser then urged 
that "we lay at least some cards on the 
table and enter into franker discussions as 
to the future of French participation if this 
is at all practicable. Our prestige and pol- 
icy are being challenged." If possible, he 

Eisenhower to Marshall, 18 Feb 43, OPD Exec 1, 
Item 13; Msg 1628, Eisenhower to OPD, 18 Feb 
43, JRC Cable Log. 



finally recommended, General Eisenhower 
should have more support. Additional ton- 
nage with necessary escort vessels should be 
allocated to him for the purpose of rearming 
the French. 27 

Impressed by the gravity of the situation 
as described by General Eisenhower and 
Mr. Murphy, General Marshall referred 
the entire matter to President Roosevelt. 28 
The President's reaction was immediate. 
Within a few hours after Murphy's message 
had been communicated to him, Roosevelt 
requested the American political repre- 
sentative in Algiers to tell the French that 
"at no time did [he] or General Marshall 
promise equipment for the French divisions 
on any given date." What had been agreed 
to, he asserted, was "the principle of rearm- 
ing them." The rearmament itself was to 
be carried out "as soon as practicable from 
the shipping point of view." His agree- 
ment in principle, therefore, did not involve 
detailed commitments. The President 
then added this somewhat caustic advice: 
"Tell your good friends in North Africa 
that they ought not to act like children. 
They must take prompt steps to deny the 
silly rumors that they have been let down 
in equipping an expeditionary force to go 
into France or that slowness in supplying 
armament is delaying political progress. . . . 
They must remain calm and sensible." 29 

In a message of the same date addressed 
to Eisenhower, Marshall first restated the 
President's own interpretation of the Anfa 
Agreement, then disclosed some rather 
startling facts concerning the conversations 
held immediately before the President's 

!T Msg 252, Murphy to Secy State for President, 
20 Feb 43, OPD Exec 1, Item 13. 

Memo, Marshall for President, 20 Feb 43, OCS 
A— 45-523 (France). 

!n Msg, President to Murphy, 20 Feb 43, OPD 
Exec 1, Item 13. 



44 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



approval of the Giraud memorandum. 
Specifically, the Chief of Staff referred to 
paragraph 2 of the document. As worded, 
it implied that, after Giraud and the Presi- 
dent had reached an understanding on the 
general principle of French rearmament, 
Generals Giraud, Marshall, and Somervell 
had subsequently agreed on the details of 
the program. The U.S. Chief of Staff now 
wanted to have clearly understood that 
neither he nor General Somervell had made 
any detailed commitments such as were 
specified in the paper submitted to the 
President for his signature. In their con- 
versation with General Giraud, they had 
dealt "only in general terms," and agreed 
solely to a rearmament program "as speedy 
as could be managed." They had informed 
the French Commander in Chief that, be- 
cause of shipping limitations, his program 
would be impossible of immediate attain- 
ment in view especially of American com- 
mitments with the USSR and China, and 
requirements in the southwest Pacific. 
General Marshall further disclosed that the 
President had had no opportunity to see 
him or General Somervell after his receipt 
of General Giraud's memorandum. The 
President's agreement in principle, there- 
fore, was "based on General Giraud's state- 
ment of a detailed arrangement with 
Generals Somervell and Marshall which 
had not been reached." 30 

Both American and French observers 
were later to express the opinion that Gen- 
eral Marshall's implication that Giraud had 
knowingly misrepresented the facts and had 

30 Msg 2641, Marshall to Eisenhower, 20 Feb 43, 
JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan. 



secured the President's approval on false 
pretenses did not square with Giraud's char- 
acter. It seemed to them far more likely 
that the French Commander in Chief, car- 
ried away by his eagerness to see his forces 
rearmed, was misled by the encouragement 
he received and that he readily translated 
preliminary agreements into firm commit- 
ments because he wanted so badly to have 
such commitments. 31 As for the President, 
the haste with which he had approved the 
document suggests the possibility that he 
had not examined its terms and implications 
with sufficient care. His endorsement was 
ambiguous to say the least. Under the cir- 
cumstances, it was bound to lead to mis- 
understandings. 

In an effort to dissipate General Giraud's 
misgivings, the MAB dispatched to Al- 
giers, at the request of the French Com- 
mander in Chief and with the approval of 
the President and of the British Govern- 
ment, Mr. Jean Monnet, the French finan- 
cial expert then in Washington. The pur- 
pose of his mission was to acquaint Giraud 
with the situation as seen from Washington, 
to review with him and with General Eisen- 
hower the entire matter of French rearm- 
ament in relation to over-all Allied require- 
ments, and generally to "give through ap- 
propriate channels every assistance to the 
solution of questions arising in connection 
with the rearmament of the French 
forces." 32 The details of the rearmament 
program still had to be established. 

" l Intervs with Col George L. Artamonoff, Dec 
49, with Brig Gen Jean Regnault, Sep 50, and 
with Lt Gen Paul Devinck, Jun 50. 

3J Ltr, Hopkins to Monnet, 22 Feb 43, JRC 
902/11 Rearmt Plan. 



CHAPTER III 



Phase I of the Program 

(January-July 1943) 



Phase I Is Launched 

General Giraud had been correct in 
assuming, as he had in the course of his 
conversation with General Dwight D. 
Eisenhower on 16 February, that no definite 
schedule had yet been established for giving 
full effect to the Anfa Plan. Still it did 
not follow that War Department officials 
had detached themselves altogether from 
the question of furnishing large-scale ma- 
terial assistance to his forces. On the con- 
trary, they had already begun to make 
available some of the materiel required 
under the plan. In their opinion, such 
provision represented the first increment in 
a program still to be elaborated by the 
Combined Chiefs in the light of the Anfa 
Agreements. 

At the request of the War Department, 
the Munitions Assignments Committee 
(Ground) had acted favorably on one 
armament requisition for the French and 
was about to act on a second, such action 
being taken subject to the ultimate approval 
of the CCS and pending final decision by 
the latter regarding the over-all program. 
On 1 February, the MAC (G) had recom- 
mended, and the MAB had subsequently 
approved, the assignment of the materiel — 
vehicles and medical and training equip- 
ment — requested for the North African 



forces by the theater on 26 January. 1 This 
materiel, incidentally, was much the same 
as that listed under Priority I of the Be- 
thouart program. Two weeks later, on 16 
February, the MAC (G) also approved 
the immediate transfer to the French of 
some 400 machine guns, 24 medium tanks 
for training purposes, as well as the materiel 
requested earlier by General Eisenhower for 
re-equipping one infantry division, two 
truck companies, one service company, and 
one ordnance battalion. 2 Army Service 
Forces then made arrangements for the 
shipment of the equipment as filler cargo 
on the next convoys to North Africa. 

These measures clearly indicated that 
War Department officials were no less de- 
termined than General Eisenhower to begin 

'Min, MAG (G) 74th Mtg, 1 Feb 43. (See 

iBibliographical Note.f ) 

' Msg 8496, Eisenhower to AG WAR, 2 Feb 43, 
JRC Cable Log; Min, MAC (G) 78th Mtg, 16 
Feb 43. MAC (G) withheld the 17,500 rifles 
requested by General Eisenhower because there 
existed at the time a shortage of 1,300,000 in the 
United States. As rifles were available from British 
sources, the London Munitions Assignments Board 
was requested to release them to the French Com- 
plete with bayonets and scabbards, accessories, and 
maintenance spare parts. These rifles, all .30- 
caliber, were from the old U.S. stock turned over 
to the British after the battle of Dunkerque. Msg 
5826, AFHQ to USFOR, 21 Apr 43, JRC Cable 
Log. On the question of rifles and other infantry 
weapons iss ued to the French during the war, see 

|pp. 246-53] , below. 



46 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



U.S. VEHICLES FOR NORTH AFRICAN FORCES, Casablanca, 22 February 1943. 



rearming the French while awaiting a deci- 
sion of the CCS on the extent of the pro- 
gram. They intended to proceed generally 
within the framework of the Bethouart pro- 
posal of 26 December, and on the basis of 
recommendations of the Allied Commander 
in Chief as to armament and shipping pri- 
orities. They concurred fully in General 
Eisenhower's position that materiel and 
shipping priorities must be decided by him, 
except when the CCS might have to inter- 
vene. 3 To avoid dual shipping procedures, 
they recommended, and the theater agreed, 
that shipments for the French, distinctively 
marked, should continue as U.S. Army 
shipments consigned to Commanding Gen- 
eral, NATOUSA, and handled like any 
other U.S. military shipments/ 



:i In the course of a conference held at AFHQ, 
it had been agreed that Eisenhower would be the 
final authority on the matter of French requisitions. 
Min, CofS Conf, 29 Jan 43, AFHQ AG Sec 337.2. 

'Memo, Styer for Eisenhower, 10 Feb 43, JRC 
902/11 Rearmt Plan. In accordance with an 
earlier request from the theater, the following 
distinctive markings were subsequently adopted: 



On 16 February Marshall referred to 
Eisenhower a request he had just received 
from General Bethouart for the equipment 
to complete the initial phase of the Anfa 
Plan. Bethouart was asking for an alloca- 
tion of 100,000 tons monthly, for the next 
two months, over and above the 25,000-ton 
allotment authorized by the theater. War 
Department officials, explained General 
Marshal], considered that the decision in 
the matter was up to the theater, not them. 5 

The Allied Commander in Chief, on 18 
February, confirmed General Giraud's 
eagerness to complete the initial phase of 
the Anfa Plan as speedily as possible. He 



all packages containing equipment for the French 
bore the code symbol NAFUS (for North African 
French-U.S. ) and were stenciled with ver tical r ed, 
white, and blue stripes. Msg 8496 cited In. 21 

"Ltr, Bethouart to Marshall, 15 Feb 43, OCS 
A-45-523; Msg 2399, Marshall to Eisenhower, 16 
Feb 43, JRC Cable Log. The submission of 
Bethouart's request to the War Department was 
entirely consonant with General Smith's statement 
of 6 February (see |p. 4f] above) that the French 
must take up shipping problems directly with the 
War Department. 



PHASE I OF THE PROGRAM 



47 



then submitted a detailed request for the 
necessary equipment. On the question of 
shipping, he pointed out in a subsequent 
message that for him to allocate more ton- 
nage for the French forces from his present 
shipping allotment would be to compete 
directly with his other military require- 
ments. He fully realized that the "apparent 
commitment of Anfa as understood by the 
French" might require an immediate in- 
crease in rearmament tonnage. Existing 
demands, however, were "quite beyond" 
his capacity to meet if future plans were to 
be executed, as he hoped, within the period 
of time currently contemplated. 6 

Without waiting for Eisenhower's reply, 
Marshall had instructed ASF to explore at 
once the possibility of allocating more ton- 
nage for the shipment of military equipment 
to the French. On 19 February General 
Somervell had announced that a special 
convoy of approximately 125,000 tons 
could be arranged for this purpose. 

The request submitted by the theater on 
18 February called for the shipment of 
materiel to equip two infantry divisions, two 
armored regiments with Sherman tanks, 
three tank destroyer battalions, three recon- 
naissance battalions of the type contained 
in armored divisions, and twelve antiaircraft 
battalions. Operations Division gave the 
request a very high priority, so high in fact 
that American ground units in the United 
States were to be stripped of equipment, if 
necessary, to meet the French requirements. 7 

So far, the organization of the special 
convoy was an American project. The 
precipitate American action prompted the 

"Msgs 1628, Eisenhower to OPD, IB Feb 43, 
and 1930, Eisenhower to Marshall, 20 Feb 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 

7 Memo, Secy for Chairman MAC (G), 18 Feb 
43, attached to Min, MAC (G) 80th Mtg, 20 Feb 
43. 



British to point out with perfect accuracy 
that to date the Combined Chiefs had made 
no basic policy decisions on French rearma- 
ment. To assign equipment without benefit 
of direction from the CCS was, in their 
judgment, "putting the cart before the ox." 
Despite the British demurral and pending 
final action by the MAB, arrangements 
for the convoy proceeded. Arms and equip- 
ment, on order of ASF, were moved into 
ports and the convoy was assembled. The 
Combined Chiefs meanwhile continued the 
debate on long-range policy. 8 

The convoy, known as UGS 6/ 2 9 and 
consisting of fifteen cargo ships, was to 
leave about 19 March and arrive in North 
Africa around 1 1 April. It had been ar- 
ranged with great difficulty for it repre- 
sented a "terrifically stiff demand on a very, 
very tight shipping situation." Not all the 
equipment assigned on 20 February, 
amounting to some 150,000 tons, could be 
lifted in the fifteen ships. It was agreed 
that items left behind would be shipped as 
soon as practicable. Also to go later was a 
substantial amount of the air equipment re- 
quested by the theater on 14 February. 10 

All together, the materiel to be shipped 
on UGS 6 J/ a and on convoys immediately 
following, for which assignment either had 
been obtained or was then pending, ex- 

■ Min, MAC (G) 80th Mtg, 20 Feb 43. It was 
not until 24 March 1943 that the MAB, acting 
in accordance with a decision taken by the CCS 
twelve days earlier, approved the assignment recom- 
mended by the U.S. members of the MAC (G) 
on 20 February. 

8 The conventional symbol UG was used to 
identify a cargo convoy originating in U.S. ports 
(whereas KM signified a convoy from the United 
Kingdom). The added symbols "S" and "F" 
meant "slow" and "fast" respectively. 

10 Quotation from Memo, Lewis Douglas for 
Somervell, 19 Feb 43, Somervell File, Shipping; 
Msg 2833, Somervell to Eisenhower, 25 Feb 43, 
JRC Cable Log, 



48 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



ceeded substantially the equipment listed by 
General Bethouart on 15 February. With 
it, General Giraud would be able to equip 

3 infantry divisions, 2 armored regiments, 

4 tank destroyer battalions, 5 reconnais- 
sance battalions, 14 40-mm. antiaircraft 
battalions, 12 truck companies, and air 
units representing more than 200 air- 
planes. 11 In actuality, these shipments 
would complete the first phase of the Anfa 
Plan. 

General Bethouart could well be pleased 
with the arrangements just concluded. 
Aware of the important part which General 
Marshall had played in shaping them, the 
French representative expressed to him his 
personal appreciation in a letter of thanks. 12 

The announcement regarding the special 
convoy could not have reached General 
Eisenhower at a more appropriate time, for 
he was about to convey to General Giraud 
the President's interpretation of the Anfa 
Agreement. In his letter General Eisen- 
hower first stressed the United States Gov- 
ernment's desire and policy to equip the 
French forces properly as fast as shipping 
could be allocated for that purpose. He 
then broke the news about the special con- 
voy. The decision of the War Department 
to set it up, he pointed out in conclusion, 
was "a further evidence of our desire to 
share with you to the fullest extent possible 
consistent with the means at our disposal." 13 

At. the close of the six-week period just 
ended, extending from the opening session 
of the Casablanca Conference to 23 Febru- 

11 Memo, Marshall for Bethouart, 24 Feb 43, 
OSC A-45-523 (France). 

"Ltr, Bethouart to Marshall, 25 Feb 43, OCS 
A-45-523 (France). 

15 Msg 2641, Marshall to Eisenhower, 20 Feb 43, 
JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan; Ltr, Eisenhower to 
Giraud, 23 Feb 43, AFHQ 0100/4 SACS Fr Mat- 
ters. 



ary, when Eisenhower wrote to Giraud, the 
Americans as well as the French could point 
with satisfaction to the great strides being 
made toward the rehabilitation of the North 
African forces. The principle of a rearma- 
ment had been recognized by the Ameri- 
can government and made the subject of an 
agreement. The implications of the agree- 
ment had been analyzed and subsequently 
clarified. Finally, a substantial amount of 
equipment was about to leave the United 
States for North African ports, a tangible 
proof of the American intent to carry 
through the promises made at Anfa and 
earlier at Cherchel. 

The question now uppermost in the 
minds of all was this: How soon and how 
often could shipments be made? The diver- 
gence of views demonstrated by the British 
and American members of the MAB on 
20 February was clear proof that the board 
was not in a position to make further as- 
signments unless it received the necessary 
guidance from the CCS. Obviously no 
policy would be forthcoming until such time 
as the CCS had considered the French re- 
armament problem in its entirety and agreed 
to the establishment of a firm over-all pro- 
gram. 

The CCS Agree on a Rearmament Formula 

Eager to obtain the formalization of the 
action taken by ASF as well as a definite 
policy with regard to equipping the French, 
the U.S. Chiefs of Staff brought the entire 
rearmament question before the CCS. The 
memorandum which they submitted on 23 
February first pointed out that as a result 
of discussions held at Anfa between Presi- 
dent Roosevelt and Generals Marshall, 
Somervell, Giraud, and Eisenhower, it had 
been agreed that equipment would be 



PHASE I OF THE PROGRAM 



49 



furnished "as expeditiously as practicable 
in accordance with requests submitted from 
time to time through and coordinated with 
the CinC [Allied Forces in North Africa]." 
The CCS, asserted the JCS, had been in- 
formed of this "policy," 14 and had further 
been advised that the U.S. Chiefs of Staff 
intended to "delay the organization of 
combat units in the U.S. in approximate 
proportion to French units to be rearmed." 
The U.S. Chiefs of Staff now proposed that 
the CCS approve the following directive 
to the MAB for guidance in allocating 
equipment to General Giraud: "Munitions 
of war will be assigned to French land 
and air forces in North Africa from the 
common pool to the extent that these forces 
can be organized as units around a nucleus 
of trained officers and NCO's in accordance 
with priorities to be established by the CinC, 
Allied Forces in North Africa, and to the 
extent that shipping can be made available 
for the transport of these munitions." 
Naval forces were specifically excluded as 
they were to be the object of a separate 
paper. 15 

The memorandum, it must be noted, was 
strangely silent regarding the scope of the 
proposed rearmament. It made no men- 
tion of the eleven-division target as agreed 

u Obviously a reference to the disclosures made 
in this connection by General Marshall at the 61st 
and 62d CCS Meetings on 19 January. 

"Memo, JCS for CCS, 23 Feb 43, CCS 181. 
The memorandum was approved by the JCS at 
their 63d Meeting, 23 February 1943. It is in- 
teresting to note that before submitting the draft 
of this paper to the JCS for their approval, Brig. 
Gen. John R. Deane, secretary of the committee, 
made this rather startling statement in a memoran- 
dum for General Marshall: "The President agreed 
in principle with General Giraud that French 
Forces would be re-equipped but did not specify 
any particular number even though General Giraud 
believes that he did." Memo, Deane for Marshall, 
22 Feb 43, OPD 400 France, Sec 1. 



to by President Roosevelt, an omission pos- 
sibly due to the fact that the revised version 
of the An fa Agreements had yet to be ap- 
proved by the President. 

The reaction of the British Chiefs of Staff 
was prompt and vigorous. On 25 Febru- 
ary, they expressed their views on the pro- 
posal just offered by their American col- 
leagues. The rearmament of the French 
in the immediate future and on a large scale 
would, they asserted, cut across the agree- 
ments reached at Casablanca regarding 
future strategy. They pointed out that the 
North African forces could not be re- 
equipped in time to take part in current 
operations in Tunisia and were "unlikely to 
be required" for any of the subsequent oper- 
ations decided upon at the conference. 16 

The British Chiefs considered further that 
any shipping allocated to French rearma- 
ment above that actually required for op- 
erations then contemplated would be at the 
direct expense of these operations, thereby 
seriously prejudicing them. The directive 
proposed by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, they 
pointed out, made no mention of the fact 
that the commitment to rearm the French 
was to be carried out at the expense of the 
activation of U.S. units. They now under- 
stood this was "the policy agreed on at 
Anfa." Since French rearmament involved 
a problem of assignment which differed in 
no way from similar problems in other 
theaters, they considered that it should be 
dealt with by the MAB in the light of other 
global commitments and be accorded such 
assignments as its strategic priority merited. 
In conclusion, the British Chiefs of Staff 



10 The contemplated operations were : Anakim, 
consisting of a large land operation for the re- 
opening of the Burma Road and an amphibious 
operation for the recapture of Rangoon; and 
Bolero, a preliminary build-up of the forces re- 
quired for an operation across the English Channel. 



50 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



urged that the proposed directive to the 
MAB be revised to indicate the priority to 
be given to French rearmament "in its 
proper relation to the requirements of other 
military operations already agreed upon." 
They recommended further that the MAB 
be informed of the ultimate scale of rearma- 
ment and the speed at which it should be 
accomplished. 17 

On 26 February, the CCS engaged in a 
lively debate centering on the American 
proposal and the British answer. Admiral 
William D. Leahy prefaced the discussion 
by emphasizing that a commitment had 
been made "on a higher level than the CCS" 
and that the question now confronting the 
committee was "the manner" in which the 
commitment should be implemented. In 
his opinion the agreement reached at Anfa 
could not be voided. General Marshall 
then called attention to the "inconsistency" 
of some statements in the British memoran- 
dum. If equipment was to be furnished the 
North African forces at the expense of U.S. 
units, "it was hardly a question about a 
common pool." Speed of deliveries and 
amount of equipment involved, he pointed 
out, were matters still to be determined. 
He felt, however, that it was important, 
both politically and strategically, that "some 
measure of the agreement be carried out in 
the near future" so as to bolster Eisen- 
hower's position, especially in French 
Morocco where his strength had been de- 
pleted by preparations for future operations. 
Asked whether the dispatch of equipment 
to the French would prejudice other 
planned operations, General Somervell ex- 
pressed the belief that it would not. The 
present major shortage, he explained, was 
in troopships, not in cargo carriers. Gen- 

" Memo, Representatives of COS for CCS, 25 
Feb 43, CCS 181/1. 



eral Somervell then voiced his "great sur- 
prise" at learning that there was any ques- 
tion regarding the rearming of the French, 
as it was his understanding that the matter 
had been agreed on at Anfa. He urged 
that the MAB be authorized to assign 
the equipment then being loaded on the 
special convoy. 

Speaking for the British Chiefs of Staff, 
General Macready first questioned the wis- 
dom of leaving the decision as to the extent 
of French rearmament to the theater com- 
mander, who, he felt, was not in a position 
to judge all the rival claims of other planned 
operations. While fully recognizing the 
"political necessity" for delivery of a mini- 
mum amount of equipment, he feared that 
the contemplated shipments to North Africa 
would conflict with commitments in the 
Indian Ocean where General Sir Archibald 
P. Wavell was asking for an additional 
126,000 tons monthly. However, added 
General Macready, the British Chiefs of 
Staff were prepared to authorize the MAB 
to go ahead with the present proposed as- 
signments, "provided any delay which 
might thus be caused to British assignments 
would be made good later in the year." 
In an effort to reconcile the American and 
British stands on the matter, General Mar- 
shall proposed that the directive to the 
MAB be amended to read "without jeop- 
ardizing other commitments." 18 

The directive, thus amended, was referred 
to the British Chiefs of Staff in London. 
On 2 March they signified their willingness 
to accept it provided it was amended further 
as follows: "Munitions of war will be as- 
signed to the French Forces up to the limits 
and at a speed to be decided by the CCS . . . 
without prejudicing other commitments." 
Their own proposed amendment, they de- 

11 Min, CCS 73d Mtg, 26 Feb 43. 



PHASE I OF THE PROGRAM 



51 



clared, was prompted by their feeling that 
assignments of vital items in short supply 
should not be made to the French for opera- 
tional use at the expense of assignments to 
U.S. or British troops. Since, in addition, 
existing shipping was insufficient to meet 
all present combined commitments, they 
considered it essential to leave it to the CCS 
to decide, "on purely military grounds and 
after due consideration of the situation in 
all theaters," what was to be assigned. 19 It 
was now clear that one of the fears expe- 
rienced by the British regarding French re- 
armament as proposed by the U.S. Chiefs 
of Staff was that the commitment would 
jeopardize the delivery of American equip- 
ment to their own forces. 

At their next meeting, the JCS took up 
the controversial directive to the MAB. 
Admiral Leahy first informed his colleagues 
that the President had directed that the 
loading of the special convoy be continued. 
He then called attention to the statement 
contained in the British memorandum of 
2 March that the Prime Minister had con- 
firmed that he had not discussed the ques- 
tion of French rearmament with the Presi- 
dent while at Anfa. The President, 
declared Admiral Leahy, had just informed 
him to the contrary. Admiral King then 
pointed out that, since there was no agree- 
ment such as that reached with the USSR, 
and since the JCS had not clearly denned 
the extent of the proposed rearmament, the 
British obviously were concerned lest the 
matter be carried too far. He felt that 
some definite statement should be made to 
the British indicating that for the moment 
not more than three divisions or their 
equivalent were to be re-equipped. 

In a less conciliatory mood, Admiral 

"Memo, Representatives of COS for CCS, 2 
Mar 43, CCS 181/3. 



Leahy urged that a definite program be 
"made, held to, and the British so in- 
formed." This was important, he pointed 
out, in view of a possible United Nations 
manpower shortage. General Somervell, 
chief of ASF, then explained that there 
existed no shortage of equipment, not even 
of tank destroyers for which the British had 
also made a request. Shipping, he asserted, 
was the only question that mattered. And 
he believed that when French ships, once re- 
paired, had been added to the Allied pool, it 
would be possible to increase the current 
25,000-ton allocation for French military 
supplies by some 40,000 additional tons per 
convoy. There was no intention, he added, 
to continue shipments at a heavy rate, 
but only at the rate provided by French 
shipping plus the tonnage allocated by Gen- 
eral Eisenhower. In the case of the special 
convoy, he explained, ships had been taken 
out of the U.S. shipping allocation and had 
been made available by the War Shipping 
Administration. Admiral Leahy then of- 
fered this advice: "The best attitude to 
adopt is to inform the British that the US 
JCS intend to ship the equipment." Asked 
by Admiral King what stand the British 
Chiefs of Staff had taken at the Casablanca 
Conference, Brig. Gen. John R. Deane, 
secretary of the committee, replied that at 
no time had they acquiesced to the Ameri- 
can plans to rearm the French; they had 
listened without comment and had never 
agreed or disagreed. 40 

In the opinion of General Somervell, 
British objections to sanctioning the meas- 
ures already taken by the War Department 
to arm the French appeared groundless. 
Only the materiel for three divisions had 
been assigned to date, a commitment "ap- 
parently concurred in by the British Chiefs 

18 Min, JCS 64th Mtg, 2 Mar 43. 



52 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



of Staff." In addition, very few of the 
items involved could be considered in short 
supply and even in their case the amounts 
assigned represented but a small proportion 
of the monthly production rate. Finally, 
in allocating the necessary tonnage, the War 
Shipping Administration had advised that 
the allocation had been made "without 
prejudice to the fulfillment of other op- 
erational shipping needs considered as 
urgent." 21 

Operations Division officials had come to 
the conclusion that the amendment to the 
MAB directive as proposed by the British 
would make action by the CCS mandatory 
on every armament request for the French. 
The CCS, they feared, would then be as- 
suming the role of a munitions assignments 
board. Brig. Gen. John E. Hull, Chief, 
Theater Group, OPD, declared flatly that, 
as written, the British proposal was not ac- 
ceptable. He offered as a possible com- 
promise the following counterproposal : 

Munitions of war will be assigned to the 
French forces . . . from the common pool to 
the extent that these forces can be organized 
as units ... in accordance with priorities to 
be established by the Allied CinC in North 
Africa and to the extent that shipping and 
equipment can be made available without 
jeopardizing other commitments. Equip- 
ment allotted by the MAB will not, without 
prior reference to the CCS, exceed that neces- 
sary to equip eleven divisions, an air force of 
450 planes, and appropriate supporting and 
auxiliary troops. 

General Hull considered that his proposal, 
if adopted, would fulfill the President's 
"agreement in principle" and would not 
commit the British Chiefs of Staff to the 
granting of blanket authority to the 
MAB. 22 

21 Memo, Somervell for Deane, 3 Mar 43, OPD 
400 France, Sec I. 

23 Memo, Hull for CofS, 4 Mar 43, OPD Exec 1, 
Item 13. 



On 5 March, the CCS resumed their dis- 
cussion of the terms of the draft directive. 
First, Admiral Leahy restated the American 
position and reminded his British colleagues 
that at Casablanca they had raised no ob- 
jection to the U.S. proposal to arm the 
French. It would now be "as impossible as 
it would be inadvisable" to withdraw from 
the commitment given General Giraud by 
President Roosevelt. Speaking for the Brit- 
ish Chiefs of Staff, General Macready stated 
that the point of disagreement concerned 
the details of the commitment. What the 
MAB required were instructions as to the 
amount of equipment to be furnished and 
the approximate speed of delivery. With- 
out such instructions, he explained, the 
MAB would not be in a position to fit the 
assignments to the French into the over-all 
claims upon available munitions. The fact 
was, he concluded, that "no document ex- 
isted" which indicated what was to be sup- 
plied to the French. 

Admiral King agreed with General 
Macready. Referring to the minutes of the 
Casablanca Conference, he asserted that, to 
his knowledge, no definite decision had any- 
where been recorded regarding equipment 
for the North African forces. 23 He felt that 
some sort of protocol similar to that for the 
USSR should be agreed on for the French. 
It was quite right, he added, that a "brake" 
be put on the French project so as "to insure 
that other existing commitments would not 
be prejudiced." Admiral Leahy, on the 
other hand, considered that the U.S. Chiefs 
of Staff could not subscribe to the amend- 
ment proposed by the British as it ran coun- 
ter to their own commitment. For the bene- 
fit of the British representatives, General 

23 The minutes of the Casablanca Conference did 
not record the conversations between the President 
and General Giraud. 



PHASE I OF THE PROGRAM 



53 



Somervell, Lt. Gen. Joseph T. McNarney, 
then Deputy Chief of Staff, and Admiral 
Leahy in turn outlined briefly the Anfa 
Plan and explained how they proposed 
to meet it. Field Marshal Dill observed 
that the British Chiefs of Staff might 
take the view that eleven French divisions 
were more than could ever be made use of 
in Tunisia, particularly as a large part of 
this force would not become available until 
long after the fighting in that area was ex- 
pected to cease. However, in the light of 
the commitment which had been made, he 
recognized that equipment would have to be 
delivered. He proposed to refer the matter 
to the British Chiefs of Staff and inform 
them of the suggested ceiling of 1 1 divisions 
and 450 aircraft. He would explain to 
them that "it was the impression of the U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff that the matter had been 
fully discussed at Casablanca and approved 
in principle." 24 

In the belief that a clearer statement of 
their aims might dispel British objections, 
the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, on 6 March, offered 
a revised version of their draft directive to 
the MAB which read as follows: "Equip- 
ment allotted to the French by MAB will 
not, without prior reference to the CCS, 
exceed that necessary to equip 1 1 divisions, 
450 planes, and appropriate supporting and 
auxiliary troops." 25 

The proposed amendment failed to win 
over the British Chiefs of Staff. On 11 
March, they flatly declared that a diversion 
of shipping at the present critical stage, for 
the rearmament of forces not required to 
implement agreed strategy, "could not be 
justified militarily." It was now clear, they 
continued, that the CCS could carry the 
matter no further in view of the commit- 

2i Min, CCS 74th Mtg, 5 Mar 43. 
26 CCS 181/4,6 Mar 43. 



ment which the President was "understood 
to have given" to General Giraud. The 
President, they pointed out, had probably 
not been aware of the gravity of the ship- 
ping situation or of the certainty that opera- 
tions agreed to at Casablanca could not be 
carried out if even a fraction of the United 
Nations shipping resources was diverted to 
other purposes. As they understood that 
the Prime Minister would be taking the 
whole matter up with Mr. Roosevelt, they 
suggested that, in the meantime, the U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff consider steps to obtain 
French shipping then lying idle in Mar- 
tinique and other French West Indies ports. 
This shipping comprised several small ves- 
sels whose commander, Rear Adm. Georges 
Robert, had refused to rally to the Allies. 26 
In the opinion of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, 
there was no question of diverting shipping 
for the rearmament of forces not required to 
implement agreed strategy. Their pro- 
posed directive in fact placed the responsi- 
bility for the allocation of shipping squarely 
on the Allied Commander in Chief in North 
Africa, and specifically stated that the al- 
location of munitions to the French was 
contingent on the shipping that could be 
made available without jeopardizing other 
commitments. They considered further 
that the British argument over the shipping 
question was inconsistent. In papers sub- 
mitted by them concerning projects of their 
own in which shipping was involved, the 
British had made no mention of the criti- 
cal shipping situation. 27 As for their pro- 
posal regarding French shipping then lying 
idle in Martinique, the U.S. Chiefs of Staff 

"Memo, Representatives of COS for CCS, 11 
Mar 43, CCS 181/5. 

27 The projects were : Afloc, a trans-Africa sup- 
ply route for the supply of vehicles and equipment 
to the Middle East and east Africa; and Freetown, 
the development of the port of Freetown. 



54 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



discussed it in curious language as "a good 
but worthless suggestion." The use of such 
shipping, they added, would not affect ma- 
terially the issuance of a directive to the 
MAB. 28 

At the next meeting of the CCS, held on 
1 2 March, negotiations came to a complete 
deadlock. The committee first discussed 
a report (CCS 142/1 ) from the Combined 
Staff Planners (CPS) concerning the allo- 
cation of aircraft to the French under the 
Anfa Plan. The report showed that the 
Staff Planners had been unable to agree on 
the matter. The American members had 
recommended an initial allocation of air- 
craft for one light bomber group and one 
fighter group, and of fifty light transports. 
While agreeing to the principle of an initial 
allocation, the British members were un- 
willing to have specific numbers set at this 
time. Commenting on the U.S. proposal, 
Air Vice Marshal W. F. MacNeece Foster 
asserted that the British Chiefs of Staff were 
gravely concerned at the prospect that 
French rearmament might prejudice the re- 
quirements for future operations. He 
urged the CCS to ascertain, before reaching 
any decision on the matter, whether or not 
General Eisenhower and his Air deputy in 
the theater, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur 
Tedder, considered that any particular al- 
location of aircraft to the North African Air 
Forces was "in the best interests of opera- 
tions in Tunisia." The CCS then took up 
the question of equipment for the North 
African Ground Forces. The British Chiefs 
of Staff, asserted General Macready, did 
not object in principle to a rearmament 
spread over a period when it could be 
achieved without prejudicing other opera- 
tions. Their feeling was that, with the 
very serious shipping situation then existing, 

a CCS 75th Mtg, Notes for the Mtg, 12 Mar 43. 



operations such as Husky and Anakim 
would suffer if equipment was shipped to 
the French in large quantities at this time. 311 
In view of the imminence of these opera- 
tions, "it might be right," he added, "to go 
so far as to stop the ships now earmarked for 
French equipment and to divert them to 
other uses." General Macready reiterated 
that the theater commander was not in a 
position to weigh shipping priorities as be- 
tween his own and other theaters. He 
pointed out that General Eisenhower him- 
self might hesitate to recommend the ship- 
ment of materiel to the French if he thought 
that it might result in prejudicing Opera- 
tion Husky. Thereupon General Somer- 
vell emphasized that there was no question 
of Husky being prejudiced. Admiral 
Leahy then flatly declared that there could 
be no stoppage of the presently planned 
shipments. Realizing that they were not 
likely to get out of the impasse, the CCS 
finally agreed to suspend further action 
pending the result of the exchange of views 
then taking place between the Prime Min- 
ister and the President. They "took note," 
however, that the initial ground and air 
equipment set up with General Eisen- 
hower's concurrence would be sent to North 
Africa. 30 

From available evidence, it appears that 
the high-level exchange of views referred to 
by the CCS was not concerned with the is- 
sue at stake and as a result was not likely to 
produce the expected clarification. In a 
message to the President, Churchill had 
broached not the question of French re- 
armament, which he regarded as merely 
one of the conflicting demands on shipping, 
but the broader problem of global shipping 

"Operation Husky: an assault on Sicily; Opera- 
tion Anakim: see lnote lt>. l above. 

M Min and Suppl Min, CCS 75th Mtg, 12 
Mar 43. Rpt, CPS to CCS, 142/1, 10 Mar 43. 



PHASE I OF THE PROGRAM 



55 



requirements. That was the problem 
which Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden dis- 
cussed with American officials in the course 
of his subsequent visit to Washington, 
13-19 March. 31 

It will be recalled that, on 23 January, 
General Marshall had urged the JCS to set 
forth a policy with respect to the con- 
templated employment of the North Afri- 
can forces and the scale of equipment to be 
provided. At the request of the JCS, the 
U.S. Joint Staff Planners ( JPS) had under- 
taken a study of the problem. Their 
recommendations, submitted on 20 March 
and subsequently endorsed by the Joint 
Chiefs, constituted in effect the basic decla- 
ration of U.S. policy on French rearma- 
ment. 

In full recognition of the important part 
that French air and ground forces will play 
not only in the forthcoming operations in the 
Mediterranean region but also shoulder to 
shoulder with American and British troops in 
the ultimate liberation of continental France, 
the CCS accept herewith the obligation to 
equip with modern equipment and to main- 
tain a French Army of approximately 250,000 
officers and men, in accordance with the fol- 
lowing which will be considered an integral 
part of the agreement: 

a) Munitions of war will be assigned for 
French land and air forces from the common 
pool to the extent that these forces can be 
organized as units around a nucleus of 
trained officers and noncommissioned officers 
in accordance with priorities to be established 
by the CinC, Allied Forces in North Africa, 
and to the extent that shipping and equip- 
ment can be made available without jeopar- 
dizing other commitments. 

b) Equipment allotted to the French by 
the MAB will not, without prior reference 
to the CCS, exceed that necessary to equip 
the units listed below: 



31 Memo, E. I. C. Jacob (LMAB) for Brig Gen 
William F. Tompkins (MAB), 10 Apr 43, CCS 
400.17 (7-6-42), Sec 4. 



1 1 divisions 
air force of 450 planes 
appropriate supporting and auxiliary 
troops 

c) Equipment for French Forces, either 
already sent to North Africa or now on the 
way, shall be considered part of, and not in 
addition to, the equipment referred to in 
paragraphs (a) and (b) above. 

d) The US and UK shall share equitably 
in equipping the French African Air Force, 
the ultimate strength of which shall be re- 
garded as approximately 450 aircraft. 

e) French forces will be employed to the 
maximum practicable extent ( 1 ) in the forth- 
coming battle in Tunisia, (2) for garrison 
duty in North Africa after the Axis is ejected 
therefrom, and (3) in such other operations 
as the Theater Commander may desire. 

f) This agreement applies only to French 
forces in North Africa, and nothing herein 
shall be construed as binding the US and the 
UK to equip the French continental Army, 
either upon the liberation of France or after 
total victory over the Axis is won. 

g) Although the need therefor cannot 
now be foreseen, in view of the speed with 
which the strategic situation in a global war 
can change, the US and the UK must re- 
luctantly, but necessarily, reserve the right to 
modify the specific provisions of this agree- 
ment, should future circumstances so de- 
mand. 32 

This declaration, laid before the CCS, re- 
flected the official American view that the 
United States and the United Kingdom 
were fully committed to a program specifi- 
cally established as to scope if not as to 
time schedule. In line with this view, Maj. 
Gen. Thomas T. Handy, chief of OPD, on 
15 March informed Army Service Forces 
that "it [had] been decided" to furnish suffi- 
cient materiel from the common pool of 

32 Rpt, JPS to JCSj sub: Equip for Fr Forces in 
North Africa, 20 Mar 43, JCS 206/1. A first draft 
of the report, completed 8 March, was examined 
at the 64th Meeting of the JPS on 10 March, and a 
revised version subsequently sent to JCS on 15 
March. 



56 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



munitions manufactured in the United 
States to equip eleven French divisions. 
He then requested ASF to study the impact 
which the provision of such materiel was 
likely to have on the equipping of American 
forces, and to examine in particular to what 
extent it would be necessary to defer the 
activation of U.S. units during 1943. ASF 
replied that there was no serious conflict and 
that the activation of U.S. units could pro- 
ceed as scheduled. The 1943 Army Supply 
Program as then established was adequate 
to take care of existing units and those pres- 
ently planned for activation. With a con- 
templated cushion of materiel for some six- 
teen divisions, French rearmament could 
easily be carried out without dislocating the 
100-division program scheduled for the U.S. 
Army in 1943. At General Somervell's di- 
rection, ASF promptly incorporated the 
French requirements in Section V-A and 
V-B of the Army Supply Program. 13 

The inability of the CCS to arrive at a 
decision could not but produce a climate 
of uncertainty, even apprehension, in the 
theater. As pointed out by Colonel Gardi- 
ner, chairman of the Joint Rearmament 
Committee, the absence of a directive set- 
ting forth the aims of French rearmament 
"left room for discussion of the merits of 
the question and opened the way to the ex- 
pression of diverse views on the subject." 
The French, he insisted, needed encourage- 
ment as well as "an example of decisive 
action" and should be given an objective as 
soon as possible. 34 

ra Memo, Handy for CG SOS, 15 Mar 43, Memo, 
Maj Gen Lucius Du B. Clay for ACofS, 27 Mar 43, 
and Memo, Hull for CofS, 10 Apr 43, OPD 400 
France, Sec 1 ; Control Div ASF, The Determina- 
tion of Army Supply Requirements, Hist MS File, 
OCMH. 

1,1 Memos, Gardiner for Brig J. F. M. Whiteley, 
12 and 30 Apr 43, copies in Col Gardiner's Private 
File. 



Still the Combined Chiefs seemed in no 
hurry. They did not even discuss the mat- 
ter from mid-March until the middle of 
May when they convened for the Trident 
Conference in W ashington. Then the situa- 
tion had changed. The ending of the Tuni- 
sian campaign had placed the French arma- 
ment issue in an entirely new light. 35 In 
addition, President Roosevelt, earlier in 
April, had authorized the redrafting of the 
Anfa Agreement leaving out the contro- 
versial paragraph which set forth the extent 
of the program at eleven divisions. 36 As 
they met, on 1 8 May, the CCS were now free 
to discuss the matter without having to feel 
any longer that they were committed to a 
specific program. 

Even so, the argument at first picked up 
about where it had left off in March. To 
the Americans, it still seemed wise to speed 
up the arming and training of the North 
African forces in view of their potential 
value for operations in France. Admiral 
Leahy pointed out that, while somewhat 
more than three divisions had been re- 
equipped, eight others already activated 
were almost without modern equipment. 
The French had been promised the equip- 
ment at Anfa, recalled General Marshall. 
Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith then ex- 
plained that AFHQ had been guided by the 
Anfa decisions. Since French units had "in 
general fought excellently" in Tunisia, he 
declared, General Eisenhower now wanted 
to use them not only to defend French Mo- 
rocco, guard lines of communications, and 
man antiaircraft defenses in North Africa, 
but possibly to assault Corsica and Sardinia. 
General Giraud, he added, was especially 

53 Hostilities ended on 13 May with the capture 
of the remaining Axis forces in Tunisia. 

m Memo, Deane for JCS, 22 Apr 43, OPD 400 
France, Sec 1. 



PHASE I OF THE PROGRAM 



57 



anxious to equip his forces "on an expedi- 
tionary basis." Unless the Combined Ship- 
ping and Adjustment Board arranged to 
provide additional tonnage, General Gi- 
raud's requirements of 100,000 tons 
monthly would not be met. 

The British reiterated their earlier cau- 
tions. While agreeing to the importance 
of rearming the French, Field Marshal Sir 
Alan Brooke voiced once again the British 
belief that it was a matter of timing and 
availability of shipping, Shipping, he as- 
serted, should not be diverted to re-equip 
the North African units at the expense of a 
build-up of Allied forces for important op- 
erations. He agreed that, in general, the 
"correct policy" was initially to equip the 
French for the static role of relieving Allied 
forces for offensive operations. At a later 
stage the French then could be equipped as 
an expeditionary force. 

Both sides having thus again affirmed 
their separate points of view substantially 
unchanged from the earlier debates, the 
CCS settled suddenly on a compromise 
formula: "The rearming and re-equipping 
of the French Forces in North Africa should 
be proceeded with as rapidly as the avail- 
ability of shipping and equipping will allow, 
but as a secondary commitment to the re- 
quirements of British and U.S. Forces in the 
various Theaters." They agreed further 
that the possibility of using captured Ger- 
man materiel to re-equip the French should 
be explored. 37 

The wording represented a considerable 
if not total surrender to the view of the 
British Chiefs in providing the double safety- 
valve for which they had consistently 
argued : that the commitment be not firm as 

3I Min, CCS 87th Mtg, 18 May 43, Trident 
Conf. 



to the amount of equipment to be delivered 
and that it be made contingent on the prior 
claims of British and American forces. It 
seems likely that the Americans conceded the 
point for two main reasons — a sense first 
that it had become critical to have some kind 
of decision, and second that agreement in 
principle would permit, even if it did not re- 
quire, the carrying out of the original Anfa 
commitment. The Americans were con- 
vinced that neither shortage of equipment 
nor shortage of shipping would interfere 
with the arming of the eleven divisions as 
agreed. They were equally convinced that 
the North African troops had proved their 
usefulness and that therefore it would be 
militarily justifiable, if necessary, to arm 
them at the expense of American units. 

In effect the Trident decision simply 
reaffirmed the primary responsibility of the 
United States for rearming the French in 
North Africa and gave the U.S. Joint Chiefs 
of Staff a comparatively free hand in carry- 
ing out that responsibility. That point was 
underlined in a meeting with the President 
and the Prime Minister when Air Chief 
Marshal Portal, after pointing out that the 
British were supplying the North African 
Air Forces with aircraft for patrol duties 
off the West African coast, emphasized that 
except for this contribution "the entire 
project was in the hands of the United 
States." 38 

While the Trident decision for the time 
being settled the rearmament policy to the 
satisfaction of the British and Americans, 
it left something to be desired from the 
French point of view. The urgency of re- 
armament had been forcibly brought to 
the French by their recent experience in 

15 Min, 4th Mtg with President and Prime Min- 
ister, 21 May 43, Trident Conf. 



58 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



SOUS CE PORTIOUE 
WlSSfc UN f LtUVt U LHtUWt QUI VA COWCOU&IB A LA HECONI 

la France r tlmnelle et de son empire 

THROUGH THESE PORTALS 
FLOWS A STREAM OF ENERGY THAT WILL REBUILD 
** THE IMM'JP'I AL TRENCH EMPIRE - 




GENERAL EISENHOWER DELIVERING AN ADDRESS at the ceremony, 8 May 
1943, in Algiers in celebration of the fall of Tunisia and the arrival of U.S. materiel for the 
French. General Giraud is at the right. 



Tunisia. The 40,000 North African troops 
thrown into the battle had suffered some 
9,600 casualties (including 2,300 killed in 
action) or 24 percent of the forces en- 
gaged. :it< For these heavy losses, the in- 
adequacy of equipment had been in large 
measure responsible. To General Giraud, 
facing the prospect of perhaps again com- 
mitting troops to such an ordeal, the com- 

Figures on losses are taken from Lt. Col. P. 
Santini, "Etude statistique sur les pertes au cours 
dc la guerre 1939-1945," Revue du Corps de Sante 
Militaire, X, No. 1 (March, 1954). 



promise formula of Trident, with its in- 
definite program of rearmament to be car- 
ried out only as it could be fitted into more 
pressing obligations, offered little comfort. 
"The French," one American observer had 
warned, "are deadly serious about the mat- 
ter." w For the moment, however, they had 
no choice but to go along with the ad hoc 
solutions permitted by the CCS decision. 



40 Memo, Gen Tompkins for Maj Gen J. H. 
Burns, 29 Mar 43, CCS 400 France (11-3-42), 
Sec 2. 



PHASE I OF THE PROGRAM 



59 



LT. GEN. MARK W. CLARK PRESENTING NEWLY ARRIVED U.S. 
EQUIPMENT to the French Ground Forces in a ceremony held at Casablanca, 9 May 1943, 
General Auguste Nogues is at the left. 



Implementing Phase I 

Ten days before the formula on French 
rearmament was finally agreed to in Wash- 
ington, a significant event had taken place 
in North Africa. On that day, 8 May, an 
imposing ceremony was held in Algiers in 
the dual celebration of the fall of Tunisia, 
just wrested from Axis control, and of the 
formal handing over to General Giraud of 
U.S. materiel recently unloaded in North 
African ports. The speech that Gen- 
eral Eisenhower made on this occasion in- 



cluded a special message from President 
Roosevelt to the French. "American work- 
ers," said the message in part, "are proud 
to deliver the goods and weapons to be used 
by French soldiers." 41 In accepting the 
armament in the name of the French Army, 
General Giraud echoed the feelings of pride 
and gratitude of his countrymen when he 
declared : 

Today the pledge that was made at Anfa 
by the President of the U.S. and the British 



41 Memo for Red, SGS, 9 May 43, AFHQ 0100/4 
SACS Politics. 



60 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



Government has been fulfilled. The convoys 
are arriving. The news is spreading through 
the country and among the troops and brings 
them comfort and hope. Today's ceremony, 
simple and great, allows us to express our 
gratitude to the workmen of America who 
have wrought that precious materiel and 
brought such a contribution to the restoration 
of Liberty in the world. 42 

Later in the day several North African 
contingents, formerly horse cavalry and now 
re-equipped as armored units, paraded 
through the flag-decked streets of the city 
and exhibited their newly acquired tanks, 
tractor-drawn artillery, jeeps, and com- 
bat cars to the enthusiastic populace. In 
the eyes of the French, the occasion sym- 
bolized the rebirth of their armed forces. 
The new French Army, proud of its modern 
weapons, was "taking its first steps." 43 

This and other similar demonstrations 
were vivid proof of the American determi- 
nation to proceed with the re-equipping of 
the French. 44 In fact, even before the cam- 
paign in Tunisia had come to a close, the 

42 Rpt, G. Phillips, Import Div North African 
Economic Board, to L. L. Short, 14 May 43, AFHQ 
0100/26 Liaison Sec, Rpts. 

43 Georges Marey, "Le Rcarmement francais en 
Afrique du Nord (1942-1944)," Revue Politique et 
Parlementaire (October and November, 1947). 

41 A ceremony of similar character was held on 
9 May at Casablanca, at which General Clark, on 
behalf of the Allied Commander in Chief, presented 
some newly arrived U.S. equipment to the com- 
manding general of the French Ground Forces in 
Morocco. There followed a parade of motorized 
equipment before a large crowd which could not 
fail to be impressed by this "tangible demonstra- 
tion of the determination of the United Nations 
to put the French Army in the field as an effective, 
modern fighting organization." Rpt, Liaison Sec 
Fifth Army to Liaison Sec AFHQ, 15 May 43, 
AFHQ Liaison Sec 0100/12C Fr Rpts From Fifth 
Army. Likewise, in the course of a ceremony held 
in liberated Tunis on 10 May, a Spahis regiment, 
hurriedly re-equipped with U.S. materiel for the 
occasion, paraded through the city, a third tangible 
demonstration of the rehabilitation now going on 
in the North African Army. 



first phase of rearmament was well on its 
way to completion. No development could 
have been more welcome at this time. For, 
if a few units were proudly displaying their 
newly acquired U.S. materiel, the remain- 
ing combat forces were still woefully lacking 
in equipment. Early in the Tunisian cam- 
paign, the French High Command had 
rushed to the units engaged there nearly all 
the materiel of French origin painstakingly 
accumulated before Operation Torch. 
This materiel was now considerably reduced 
through damage, wear, and capture. What 
was left of it might possibly serve to equip 
part of the forces assigned to guard the lines 
of communications. Even for this purpose 
it would be necessary to obtain from other 
sources a substantial number of additional 
small arms. As for the British and Ameri- 
can materiel loaned in the heat of battle, 
which consisted of miscellaneous quantities 
of Sten guns, British 2-pounder guns, 
75-mm. guns, Valentine tanks, and approxi- 
mately 500 assorted vehicles, it was under- 
stood that the items still serviceable at the 
end of the campaign were to be returned 
when the troops left the forward area. Con- 
sidering in addition that only a small quan- 
tity of captured enemy materiel was likely 
to become available for use by the French, 
it was clear therefore that the only equip- 
ment on which the North African forces 
could rely for participation in further opera- 
tions would be that received from U.S. 
sources. 45 

Of the 256,000 tons of equipment as- 
signed by the MAB in February and 
March for the French Ground and Air 
Forces, approximately 193,000 tons (in- 
cluding the 126,151-ton special convoy) 
had reached North African ports by the end 

"Memo, Artamonoff for Col Clement Blanc, 10 
Jul 43, JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan. 



PHASE I OF THE PROGRAM 



61 



of April. The backlog, amounting to about 
63,000 tons, had been inventoried and was 
to be shipped on the next available convoys 
and at the 25,000-ton monthly rate author- 
ized by the theater. Some 8,000 tons of 
supplies, including 200 airplanes, ground 
equipment, vehicles, and materiel for one 
parachute regiment, were intended for the 
air units. The remainder, or 248,000 tons, 
would serve to equip the ground troops pro- 
vided for in the initial phase of the Anfa 
Plan. These, it will be recalled, included 

3 infantry divisions, 2 armored regiments, 

4 tank destroyer battalions, 5 reconnais- 
sance battalions, 14 antiaircraft battalions, 



12 truck companies, and 3 ordnance bat- 
talions. The distribution of equipment to 
individual units had already started and in 
some cases was completed, as the enthusias- 
tic witnesses to the parade held on 8 May 
could testify. 48 

46 Msg 4688, Marshall to Eisenhower, 26 Mar 43, 
JRC Cable Log: Memo, Artamonoff for Gardiner, 

1 May +3, JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan. The 256,000 
tons included the training equipment requested by 
the theater on 26 January (Msg 7433), special 
items and organizational equipment requested on 

2 February (Msg 8496), equipment for the bal- 
ance of the first phase requested on 18 February 
(Msg 1628), and air equipment requested on 14 
and 27 February (Msgs 776 and 3271). (All 
msgs in JRC Cable Log.) 



CHAPTER IV 

Early Organizational Problems 



The process by which American materiel 
was being channeled into the hands of 
French units, from the time it was requisi- 
tioned by the Joint Rearmament Commit- 
tee to the time of its actual distribution, was 
a complicated one. It involved a number 
of important problems the solution of which 
required much patient labor and close team- 
work on the part of the staffs and services 
concerned. 

AFHQ Spells Out Rearmament Policies 

The mission of the JRC consisted chiefly 
of determining, in collaboration with the 
French High Command, what units could be 
activated from available manpower, when 
they could be activated, what equipment 
they would need first, and how they best 
could be trained. In carrying out this mis- 
sion, the JRC was guided by directives issued 
from time to time by the Allied Commander 
in Chief. General Eisenhower, on 3 1 Jan- 
uary, had set forth the policy to govern the 
first phase of rearmament: 

a. The French authorities will submit their 
requisitions periodically to this headquarters. 
However, the Allied CinC remains the ap- 
proving authority and may modify the requisi- 
tions to conform to the availability of 
equipment and shipping, and to the terms of 
the general policy. 

b. The JRC will maintain an up-to-date 
schedule showing: 

1) How equipment issued by this Head- 
quarters has been assigned by the French 
authorities. 



2 ) How the French authorities intend to 
assign future issues of equipment. 

He also stated that the initial rearmament 
phase was designed to provide forces for the 
defense of North and West Africa, as well as 
a picked force to form part of an Allied over- 
seas expedition. Generally, the objective 
to be reached was "quality, not quantity." 
Finally, he defined the policy with regard to 
the rehabilitation of the naval and air forces 
in the light of their probable employment. 1 
It will be recalled that General Eisen- 
hower, on 30 December 1942, had in- 
structed the U.S. Fifth Army to assist the 
French in equipping and training their units. 
It was imperative therefore that the Fifth 
Army should familiarize itself with the re- 
armament problem. On 26 March, the 
deputy theater commander recommended 
that a procedure be arranged with the JRC 
whereby Fifth Army would "definitely en- 
ter the rearmament picture," and "act as a 
balance-wheel" to ensure that equipment 
was turned over to the French at a rate com- 
mensurate with proper care and main- 
tenance. 2 

Later, on 30 March, the Allied Com- 
mander in Chief restated Fifth Army's 
obligation to assist the French military au- 
thorities with organizing and training the 

^ir AG 400/322-A-M, AFHQ, 31 Jan 43, 
AFHQ 01OO/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt, Vol. 
II (3). 

' Memo, Maj Gen Everett S. Hughes for Gen 
Clark, 26 Mar 43, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops 
Fr Rearmt, Vol. II (Pt. I). 



EARLY ORGANIZATIONAL PROBLEMS 



63 



forces stationed in French Morocco. 3 The 
next day General Clark and his chief of 
staff, Maj. Gen. Alfred M. Gruenther, dis- 
cussed ways and means to effect proper co- 
ordination between Fifth Army and AFHQ 
on the rearmament question. 4 Five days 
later, representatives from various AFHQ 
staff sections, including the JRC, met to de- 
termine the respective responsibilities of 
AFHQ, Fifth Army, and other interested 
headquarters. The basis for their discus- 
sion was a study prepared by G— 3 Section, 
AFHQ, in which, curiously enough, it was 
stated that the rearmament policy "had 
already been fixed by the CCS." Nothing 
could have been further from the truth, for 
in that first week of April the CCS debate 
on French armament was in a state of com- 
plete deadlock. Except for this erroneous 
assertion, the memorandum furnished val- 
uable data on the status of rearmament 
operations and made several important rec- 
ommendations. It proposed in particular 
that AFHQ alone be made responsible for 
contact with the French High Command, 
the drafting of a rearmament program, and 
the control of requests for shipping, and that 
Fifth Army be given the responsibility for 
the "mechanical and tactical training" of 
the French. 5 On the basis of the decisions 
reached at the meeting, the Allied Com- 
mander in Chief, on 13 April, set forth in 
detail the policy to govern the entire re- 
armament process. His directive first de- 
scribed how the rate of provision of equip- 
ment was to be regulated; the role of U.S. 

3 Dir, CinC AFHQ to CG Fifth Army, 30 Mar 
43, JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab K. 

* Note, Conf between Clark and Gruenther, 1 
Apr 43, JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab K. 

5 Note for Mtg, G-3 Sec AFHQ, 4 Apr 43, AFHQ 
O1O0/12CG-3 Div Ops Fr Ream t/'ol. II (Pt. I) ; 
Min, Mtg, 5 Apr 43, JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan. 



base sections in assisting the French with 
the immediate reception, storage, assembly, 
and issue of equipment; the assistance which 
the U.S. land forces in North Africa were 
to give in familiarizing French personnel 
with the technical details of storing, assem- 
bly, care, and maintenance of U.S. equip- 
ment. He then defined the respective re- 
sponsibilities of AFHQ, the Commanding 
General, NATOUSA, and the Command- 
ing General, Fifth Army, in the matter of 
French rearmament. AFHQ was charged 
with initiating programs and obtaining the 
necessary equipment from the United States. 
The Commanding General, NATOUSA, 
was responsible for handling equipment 
from the moment it reached North African 
ports to the time of its transfer to the French. 
The Commanding General, Fifth Army, 
was charged with assisting in the re-equip- 
ment and technical training of French Army 
units stationed throughout the U.S. Com- 
munications Zone. 6 

Eisenhower issued other directives at vari- 
ous intervals which set forth the manner in 
which French requisitions were to be proc- 
essed and transfers of materiel accounted for 
so that proper charges could be made to the 
French lend-lease account in the United 
States. A separate directive was issued 
which governed the accounting procedure 
for transfers of materiel from British sources. 
Subsequent administrative memorandums 
established on the basis of directives from 
the War Department regulated the pro- 
cedure to be followed by the bases at Casa- 
blanca, Oran, and Algiers for turning U.S. 
equipment over to the French. 7 

" Ltr, CinC to CG Fifth Army and Deputy The- 
ater Comdr NATOUSA, 13 Apr 43, JRC 902/11 
Rearmt Plan. 

7 See bp. 266-701 below. 



64 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



INSPECTING U.S. EQUIPMENT to be used by the French Army. From left: Col. 
Clement Blanc, General Henri Girand, and Brig. Gen. Roger Leyer. 



Allied Assistance in Handling Materiel 

The arrival in North Africa of materiel 
for the French posed physical and technical 
problems of considerable importance. 
From the outset AFHQ officials feared that 
the French military authorities might not be 
able, by themselves, to handle, assemble, 
sort out, distribute, and maintain the vast 
quantities of highly specialized equipment, 
much of which was entirely new to them. 
If units were to be equipped within the 
briefest possible time and with the least pos- 
sible confusion, if, in other words, the opti- 
mum use was to be made of American 
materiel, it was indispensable that responsi- 
ble Allied agencies come to the assistance of 
the French High Command by providing 
the skill and means to handle it. 



In this initial phase of the rearmament 
operations, the French were particularly 
lacking in qualified administrative and tech- 
nical personnel. The roster of the French 
General Staff and services included many 
very able officers, the foremost in the field 
of rearmament being Brig. Gen. Roger 
Leyer and Col. Clement Blanc, whose su- 
perior qualifications as organizers and tech- 
nicians made of them then and thereafter 
the artisans of the rehabilitation of the 
French Army. 8 But in the services espe- 



"From December 1942 to May 1943, General 
Leyer served under General Rene Prioux, then chief 
of Administrative Services, as first assistant for or- 
ganization. In May, he became chief of staff of the 
General Staff War, a post which he occupied until 
November 1944, first as a major general, later as a 
lieutenant general. Colonel Blanc served under 



EARLY ORGANIZATIONAL PROBLEMS 



65 



cially, many of the officers, including some 
of the chiefs themselves, were unqualified 
and inefficient by American standards. 
Officials of the JRC were distressed over the 
slowness of action displayed by various head- 
quarters. They quoted an instance when 
equipment delivered to French authorities 
in Algiers did not reach the front line in 
Tunisia until one month later. Even urgent 
inquiries, they complained, were "delayed 
for days notwithstanding repeated follow- 
ups." The situation had led General Eisen- 
hower, earlier in the year, to suspect that 
General Giraud had "no idea of Adminis- 
tration." 9 It was clear that little improve- 
ment could be expected until the French 
Commander in Chief had corrected the de- 
fects of his organization. Changes in ad- 
ministrative personnel and in methods of 
work were urgently required. It should be 
pointed out, however, that the difficult task 
of setting up almost from scratch and on 
short notice an entire command and service 
organization, with limited and often un- 
trained help, made some fumbling almost 
inevitable. "II fallait faire vite et avec 
presque rien." 10 

The shortage of material means was an 
even greater obstacle to establishing an ef- 
fective organization. Office equipment 
was worn out or nonexistent. As late as 
June 1943 few typewriters were available 
and the JRC was urging the War Depart- 

General Lever first as assistant chief of staff, G-l 
and G-4, later as deputy chief of staff, a post which 
he occupied until September 1944. He was pro- 
moted to brigadier general in April 1944. For the 
role pl ayed b y Blanc in the rearmament operations, 
see pp. [280][M51 below. 

8 Statement by Eisenhower at CCS 57th Mtg, 15 
Jan 43, Casablanca Conf ; JRC quotation from 
Memo, Artamonoff for Delaney, 3 Mar 43, JRC 
Misc Doc, Item 5 a, Tab I. 

10 "We had to work fast and with practically 
nothing." Statement by General Giraud in the 
course of an interview, December 1948. 



ment to send adequate supplies of them to 
the French. 11 Most of the indispensable 
facilities, such as covered space and depots, 
transportation, communications, and the 
like, had been requisitioned by the Anglo- 
American forces for their own use. 

As General Giraud undertook to set his 
house in order, a task in which he gradually 
achieved a substantial measure of success, 
he found himself in need of friendly advice, 
"encouragement as well as tactful help and 
guidance." 12 The American and British 
members of the JRC did not fail to respond 
generously and loyally. He needed also 
considerable material assistance. Again 
the JRC spared no effort to have the neces- 
sary means placed at his disposal. No bet- 
ter illustration could be given of this deter- 
mination on the part of the Allies to facili- 
tate his task than a brief account of the 
manner in which the large shipment that 
reached North Africa in April was handled. 

The magnitude of the organizational 
problem facing the French High Command 
upon the arrival of UGS 6/ 2 with its 
126,151 tons of materiel can easily be ap- 
preciated. For some days before, Ameri- 
can, British, and French staff officers sought 
ways and means to supplement the limited 
reception and sorting facilities available to 
the French. At a G-3 meeting held at 
AFHQ on 5 April, a detailed program was 
laid out for the reception of the materiel. 
It was decided that at Casablanca, where 
four of the fifteen ships were to dock, the 
U.S. base section in charge of the port would 
unload, assemble, and deliver the equip- 
ment "complete and in running order." At 
Algiers, the British who ran the port and 
the base were to unload the eleven ships due 

"Msg W-2573, AFHQ to AGWAR, 12 Jun 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 

u Memo, Gardiner for Whitelev . 12 Apr 4 3. copy 
in Gardiner's Private File. See Chart 1.] 




VEHICLE ASSEMBLY LINE, Algiers, April 1943. 



to dock there and transport the materiel to 
eight local French depots. 13 At one of 
these, the French were to have the use of a 
vehicle assembly line operating under U.S. 
management. Once they had assembled 
the equipment, they would then distribute it. 

Setting up and operating the assembly 
line at Algiers constituted one of the most 
remarkable instances of efficient planning 
and teamwork. First, AFHQ requested the 

13 French headquarters had strongly urged that 
five vessels only be unloaded at Algiers and the other 
six at Oran. However, anticipated port conditions 
necessitated the unloading of all eleven at Algiers. 
Msg 7575, AFHQ to AGWAR, 19 Mar 43, JRC 
Cable Log. 



War Department to ship if possible on con- 
voy UGS 6 l /i the necessary tools and gear to 
assemble about 200 vehicles daily. 14 Later, 
at a meeting between French and American 
staff officers, an understanding was reached 
regarding the extent and nature of the as- 
sistance to be furnished by SOS, NATOU- 
SA, in setting up the assembly line. It 
was agreed that the Mediterranean Base 
Section (MBS) at Oran would be respon- 
sible for organizing and operating the as- 
sembly facilities until such a time as the 



14 Msg 6400, AFHQ to AGWAR, 13 Mar 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 



68 



REARMING THE FRENCH 




REVIEWING AMERICAN TROOPS 

who placed the French vehicle assembly line 
in operation. General Eisenhower and Gen- 
eral Giraud are riding in the back of the 
vehicle. 

French were qualified to take over. 15 On 
10 April, barely four days before the arrival 
of the first ship, the MBS supply officer, Col. 
Ernest A. Suttles, together with some forty 
U.S. officers and men, arrived in Algiers 
and began organizing the line. 1G They had 
brought with them crane equipment, black- 
smith, welding, machine, and carpenter 
tools, and related items essential for the 
operation of assembly plants. Within five 
days, Colonel Suttles and his team had im- 
provised five such plants: one twin-line 

15 Memo, Artamonoff for CG SOS NATOUSA, 
1 Apr 43, JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab J. 

" Notes extracted from A Photographic Story 
of the Assembly of T. U. P. Motor Vehicles by the 
New French Army in the North African Theater 
of Operations. Text by Col. E. A. Suttles, Main- 
tenance Div, MBS, Ord. Copy in OCMH. 



General Motors plant capable of assembling 
one 2 ^2 -ton truck every three minutes, one 
Dodge-Chevrolet plant with a capacity of 70 
vehicles a day, one jeep plant with a capacity 
of over 200 %-ton vehicles daily, one 
trailer plant with a capacity of over 150 
vehicles per day, and one tank and armored- 
vehicle servicing and testing plant. 

The ships arrived on 14 April. Unload- 
ing began immediately and was completed 
by 21 April. 17 The materiel was unpacked 
and assembled as fast as boxes could be 
brought to shore. A French team of some 
75 officers and 2,300 men, mostly from the 
Chantiers de Jeunesse, assisted by Colonel 
Suttles' team, accomplished the work in rec- 
ord time. 18 In spite of language difficulties 
and the fact that lack of proper tools and 
equipment often necessitated improvisation, 
1,900 vehicles were assembled in the first 
week of operations, and 5,100 more during 
the following two weeks, making a total of 
7,000 in less than one month. 19 French 

" Unloading proceeded with such efficiency and 
speed that the British port commander thanked all 
personnel concerned, American, British, and French, 
for what had been "a record for the port." JRC 
Weekly Rpt 5, 24 Apr 43, JRC Rearmt Rpts. 

18 From the time of their creation in French North 
Africa in 1941, the Chantiers de Jeunesse (see 
above, |pp. 8, 8nl) quickly developed into a well- 
disciplined body of approximately 3,000 men. 
Although they were officially organized for peace- 
time purposes, their leader, Lt. Col. Jean Van 
Hecke, himself a member of the North African 
Resistance, had prepared them secretly for the role 
which they were to play in conjunction with an 
eventual Allied operation in that area. They de- 
serve an honorable mention not only for the val- 
uable assistance they rendered the Allies at the time 
of the landings in November 1942, but for the 
work which they subsequently performed on impor- 
tant military and public projects. In late 1943 they 
were incorporated in the North African Army as the 
7th Chasseurs d'Afrique Regiment (a tank de- 
stroyer unit) under the command of Colonel Van 
Hecke. 

19 The highest production rate reached 776 ve- 
hicles in a single day. 



EARLY ORGANIZATIONAL PROBLEMS 



69 



officials watched this mammoth operation 
with keen interest. On one occasion Gen- 
eral Giraud accompanied by General Eisen- 
hower visited the assembly line and ex- 
pressed to the American personnel his deep 
appreciation of their valuable assistance. 

Not all the equipment brought over by 
UGS 6/ 2 could be assembled at the time. 
For a number of vehicles, tanks, and anti- 
aircraft guns, necessary parts were not due 
to arrive until later with the shipment of 
the backlog of equipment. 20 

On 5 May, with the work nearly com- 
pleted, the U.S. officers and men officially 
turned the whole assembly line over to their 
French associates who continued to operate 
it by themselves. 

The French Organize an Expeditionary 
Corps 

Unless modifications had been ordered 
and arranged beforehand, the equipment 
shipped to French units was identical with 
that authorized for corresponding U.S. 
units under War Department tables of or- 
ganization and equipment current at the 
time. It included everything from uni- 
forms and medical supplies to rifles, ma- 
chine guns, and tanks. It included in ad- 
dition two units of fire, a thirty-day replace- 
ment allowance of major items and major 
assemblies, and a six-month supply of spare 
parts. Once unloaded, the equipment was 
turned over to the French military authori- 
ties for assembly, warehousing, if necessary, 
and distribution through the French Sup- 
ply Services according to priorities fixed by 
the French General Staff. AFHQ had 
agreed, on 7 April, that the French them- 

10 JRC Rpt 4, 1 7 Apr 43, and JRC Progress Rpt 
1, 4 May 43, JRC Rearmt Rpts. 




COL. ERNEST A. SUTTLES, MBS 

Supply Officer, relinquishes control of the 
assembly plant to Col.Jacques Simon, French 
Army, at a ceremony in Algiers. 



selves would be responsible for designating 
which units were to receive American equip- 
ment. This, it was recognized, was an or- 
ganizational matter for the French High 
Command alone to settle. 21 

As they prepared their distribution plan, 
the French military authorities were urged 

21 Memo for Red, JRC, sub: Responsibility for 
Fr Rearmt, 5 Apr 43, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div 
Ops Fr Rearmt; Ltr, Loomis to Brig Gen Willis 
McD. Chapin, 12 Jul 44, JRC 400.2/002 Stock 
Control System; Min, CofS Conf, 7 Apr 43, 
AFHQ AG Sec 337.2. A unit of fire is a specified 
number of rounds of ammunition for each weapon, 
varying with each type and caliber of weapon. A 
major assembly is a combination of several major 
items. The 155-mm. howitzer is an example of a 
major assembly as it includes three major items: 
the howitzer, the recoil mechanism, and the 
carriage. 



70 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



by AFHQ not to mix new and old equip- 
ment within units. This was to prevent, in 
particular, an undesirable demand for spare 
parts and service in efforts to make unserv- 
iceable materiel serviceable. They were 
also reminded that thereafter their head- 
quarters must cease submitting requests for 
equipment to Allied depots. All their re- 
quirements, they were told, must be met 
from their own sources. This was essential 
if U.S. reserves in the theater were to be 
maintained at their normal level. As the 
French kept on submitting direct requests 
to British Ordnance for items of equipment, 
AFHQ on 15 May reminded all concerned 
of the established policy and pointed out in 
addition that the British had no rearma- 
ment commitments to the French. 22 

The materiel issued on loan to units en- 
gaged in Tunisia was now to be returned 
to Allied depots since the French were re- 
ceiving new equipment from the United 
States. The policy was confirmed on 14 
May in the course of a conference between 
representatives of various AFHQ sections. 
It was agreed that the equipment in ques- 
tion would be regained as a result of show- 
down inspections upon departure of the 
units from Tunisian area. 23 

The French had decided that the troops 
engaged in Tunisia should be the first to be 
rearmed. Accordingly, they had, early in 

sa Memo, Brig Gen Lowell W. Rooks for G-4, 15 
Apr 43, AFHQ 0100/12G G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt, 
Vol. II (2) ; Memo, Gardiner for Fr Sec JRC, 14 
Mar 43, JRC 908 Policy and Plan— Misc; Memo, 
DCofS AFHQ, 15 Apr 43, AFHQ 0100/4 SACS 
Red Sec, Fr Matters; Memo, AFHQ To All Con- 
cerned, 15 May 43, JRC 908 Policy and Plan— 
Misc. 

28 Memo, Rooks for Fr Liaison Sec AFHQ, 22 
Apr 43, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt, 
Vol. II (2) ; Diary of a Certain Plan, 14 May 43, 
ASF File Planning Div, 433-a-5. 



April, pulled out of the Tunisian front for 
immediate re -equipping the equivalent of 
one infantry division. By the beginning of 
May they had rearmed one infantry division, 
the 2d Moroccan Infantry (2d DIM), and 
were in process of equipping two more, the 
3d Algerian Infantry (3d DIA) and a divi- 
sion later to be known as the 4th Moroccan 
Mountain ( 4th DMM ) . It was the French 
Commander in Chief's belief that in general 
his units would reach an efficiency of 100 
percent in eight to ten weeks from the time 
they had received their materiel. At least 
six weeks, he thought, would be required for 
technical training. This estimate appeared 
reasonable to AFHQ officials although they 
considered that an additional period of one 
month would be needed to bring armored 
units to a satisfactory state of readiness. 24 

In this initial rearmament phase, the 
French military authorities organized units 
according to tables of organization and 
equipment substantially similar to those cur- 
rently in use in corresponding U.S. units. 
In the case of infantry divisions, however, 
they requested, for tactical reasons of their 
own, that the U.S. table of organization 
and equipment be modified to provide one 
reconnaissance battalion instead of troop, 
four Quartermaster truck companies in- 
stead of one, and one 40-mm. antiaircraft 
battalion. 25 The modifications, which the 
War Department approved at the urging 
of the JRC, were designed to provide 
stronger initial cover for deployment, facili- 
tate the quick locating of hostile positions 
and flanks, and hasten the deployment of 

" JRC Progress Rpt 1, 4 May 43, JRC Misc 
Rpts; Ltr, Giraud to Eisenhower, 28 Apr 43, and- 
Memo, Rooks for CofS AFHQ, 4 May 43, JRC 
902/II Rearmt Plan. 

25 Memo, Handy for CG SOS, 15 Mar 43, OPD 
400 France, Sec 1. 



EARLY ORGANIZATIONAL PROBLEMS 



71 



infantry elements. The same modified table 
was adopted for all infantry divisions sub- 
sequently reequipped. 

The intentions of the French High Com- 
mand were to group the units then receiving 
American equipment under Phase I into a 
task force or expeditionary corps. It will 
be recalled that the creation of such a force 
to become part of an Allied overseas expe- 
dition had been formally approved by the 
Allied Commander in Chief as early as 31 
January. 26 In the opinion of the JRC, the 
units currently receiving equipment did not 
constitute a coherent force capable of oper- 
ating overseas independently if required. 
They did not include Engineer, Signal, and 
Chemical Warfare units, for which equip- 
ment was still lacking. Unless another 
special convoy brought additional materiel, 
the JRC felt that by 1 July, when the back- 
log of equipment of the first phase had been 
received from the United States, General 
Giraud would have to reshuffle the composi- 
tion of the task force and, if necessary, re- 
duce the number of units either by combin- 
ing them or eliminating some. This would 
mean shifting personnel, reassigning mate- 
riel already distributed, slightly modifying 
division tables of organization, and using 
some salvaged French equipment. Only in 
that way could the proposed corps become 
an efficient task force. 27 

General Giraud was of course eager to 
rearm more than a limited expeditionary 
corps. With a total troop strength estimated 
in mid-April at 16,000 officers and 317,000 
men, he had already activated most of the 
eleven divisions of the Anfa Plan, although 

M Dir AG 400/322, AFHQ, 31 Jan 43, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt, Vol. II (3). 

2T Memo, Artamonoff for Gardiner, 1 May 43, 
JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan. 



some in cadre only. To form these divisions 
into a self-supporting and coherent force, 
General Giraud needed 50,000 trained 
drivers as well as large numbers of technical 
troops for Ordnance, Signal, Engineer, and 
Medical units. That meant a large propor- 
tion of Frenchmen. On the basis of one 
Frenchman for two natives, a ratio con- 
sidered "reasonable" by General Giraud 
himself, no less than 100,000 Frenchmen 
would have to be found for the proposed 
army of 300,000 men. It was doubtful that 
such a number could be raised. There lay 
the real bottleneck in a larger rearmament 
program. The JRC considered that, for the 
present at least, General Giraud must con- 
centrate on activating, equipping, and put- 
ting into the field a small independent task 
force of the expeditionary-corps size now 
envisaged, for which troops of all types were 
available in Africa. Later it might be ad- 
visable to incorporate in American or British 
Army corps such other infantry units up to 
divisions as were raised and equipped over 
and above the initial task force. Thus the 
French would not have to furnish the spe- 
cialized service troops. The extent to which 
the North African Army could and should 
reasonably be expanded beyond the first ex- 
peditionary corps soon became the subject 
of much lively discussion between AFHQ 
and the French High Command, and lin- 
gered as a source of considerable friction for 
months to come. 28 

Convoys arriving in May, June, and July 
brought in the backlog of equipment of 

!8 Memo, JRC for Joint Intelligence Collecting 
Agency, AFHQ, 26 Apr 43, JRC Misc Doc, Item 
5-a, Tab K; Interv with Gen Giraud, Dec 48; 
Memo, JRC for CofS AFHQ, 25 Apr 43, JRC Misc 
Doc, Item 5-a, Tab M; Memo, Artamonoff for 
Delaney, cited |n, 97| 



72 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



Phase I. 29 With this materiel the French 
military authorities completed the equipping 
of the expeditionary corps as then set up. 
They had to resort to some juggling to ensure 
that all units were properly equipped. Thus 
they were forced to dissolve several units not 
part of the corps, but to which they had 
issued some American equipment on the 
assumption that more was to come from the 
United States, and to redistribute the ma- 
teriel so recovered among units on the troop 
list, especially the 4th Moroccan Mountain 
Division. At the same time they issued, with 
the approval of the JRC, to several infan- 
try units already equipped with British or 
French materiel, a small complement of 
U.S. equipment, largely infantry weapons 
and vehicles, and added these units to the 
troop list. These nonprogram units con- 
sisted of one separate brigade of 8,000 men 
created out of the former Corps Franc 
d'Afrique (organized in early December 
1942), one group of tabors (the equivalent 
of one regiment of goumiers), and one 
Shock Battalion (Bataillon de Choc). 
These troops were to constitute part of the 
corps reserves. 30 Finally, the French Gen- 
eral Staff turned over to the Territorial 



OT Tonnage of military equipment shipped from 
the United States between JanuaTy and July 1943 
and turned over to the French as part of Phase I of 
the program : 

Measurement 



Month Tons 

Total 256,621 

January 736 

February 1,842 

March • 135,335 

April .._ 55,263 

May 38,359 

June 19,086 

July (estimated) 6,000 



a Includes 126,151 tons in convoy UGS 6Vj. 

Source: Tab D, Memo, International Div ASF for Gen Clay, 7 
Jul 43, JRC 905.6/1 Corres on Statistics of Rearmt. 

30 JRC Rpt 5, 3 Jul 43, JRC Rearmt Rpts. On 
the organiz ation and equipment of nonprogram 
units, see pp j 112 13l |1 58— 60J below. 



forces assigned the task of guarding lines of 
communication and of maintaining internal 
security all obsolete equipment available in 
French stocks as well as some equipment 
received from the United States. 

In late April the U.S. Fifth Army had, 
with the co-operation of the JRC, launched 
a training program to instruct the rearmed 
units in the technical use and care of their 
new equipment. By June the program car- 
ried out under the direction of Brig. Gen. 
Allen F. Kingman was in full swing. 31 

On 18 June General Giraud informed 
AFHQ that he was appointing General Juin 
to command the expeditionary forces des- 
ignated for participation in forthcoming 
operation's. 32 These operations were the 
contemplated assault and conquest of Sicily 
and Italy. 

Throughout Phase I, as well as in subse- 
quent phases, the American members of the 
JRC devoted their efforts, in pursuance of 
the recommendations of the Allied Com- 
mander in Chief himself, to making the 
units being rearmed a picked force. Their 
task was not an easy one for their position 
of buffer between the French High Com- 
mand and AFHQ made their dealings with 
both often difficult. To reach the goal of 
"quality," they had requested and obtained 
from the War Department the assignment 
of materiel for units not specifically men- 
tioned in the Anfa Agreement but con- 
sidered necessary in organizing a balanced 
modern force. At a meeting held on 14 
June, the Deputy Theater Commander, 

31 See EE X1V1 below. 

32 Acknowledging the announcement of this ap- 
pointment, General Smith pointed out that "the 
excellent relationship" established between General 
Juin and his U.S. and British associates during the 
Tunisian campaign was a "guarantee of effective 
cooperation in the future." Ltr, Smith to Giraud, 
28 Jun 43, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr 
Corres. 



EARLY ORGANIZATIONAL PROBLEMS 



73 



NATOUSA, Maj. Gen. Everett S. Hughes, 
objected to this procedure. He urged that 
the Anfa Agreement be followed to the 
letter and nothing supplied beyond the ma- 
teriel required for the units listed in the 
agreement. Should this procedure not be 
acceptable to the French, he felt that it was 
up to them to obtain an "interpretation of 
the agreement on the same level as the agree- 
ment itself." 33 In the belief that a clarifi- 
cation of this important matter was required, 
the JRC urged AFHQ to set forth a defi- 
nite policy and to advise the French ac- 
cordingly. On 31 July General Eisen- 
hower directed that the Anfa Agreement be 
"interpreted" as follows : 

a. The object of the Agreement was to 
create a French force capable of taking part, 
in conjunction with the Allies, in the libera- 
tion of France. 



b. Under the terms of the Agreement, 
Corps and Army Troops and Service organ- 
izations will be required. The number of 
headquarters and the number of service troops 
will depend upon the use to be made of the 
French force which is being rearmed and will 
be a matter of negotiation between the proper 
French military officials, the JRC, and G-3, 
AFHQ. 

c. Since U.S. T/O's do not exactly fit the 
French organization and since U.S. TBA's 
contain many items not suited to French 
Forces, particularly those composed of native 
troops, great care will be exercised in sub- 
mitting requisitions in order that equipment 
not suitable for the French forces will not be 
requisitioned from the U.S. 34 

The policy fully upheld the stand already 
taken by the JRC and gave the committee 
the necessary authority to proceed with the 
rehabilitation of the North African Army in 
such a manner as to make of it a truly effec- 
tive force. 



31 Memo, Artamonoff for CofS AFHQ, 28 Jun 43, 
JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab O. 



" Memo, CinC for Liaison Sec AFHQ, 31 Jul 43, 
JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan. 



CHAPTER V 



Phase II of the Program 

(July-August 1943) 



Negotiations 

In mid-March 1943, long before the ma- 
teriel of Phase I had been received from the 
United States, the French military authori- 
ties had submitted a proposal calling for a 
second phase of rearmament to follow im- 
mediately on the completion of the first. 1 
AFHQ had taken no action on the proposal, 
largely because the allocation of shipping 
remained 25,000 tons monthly. The trans- 
portation of materiel to complete the first 
expeditionary corps, of spare parts, of re- 
placement and maintenance items, and of 
supplies generally necessary for the normal 
life of the French Military Establishment in 
North Africa was expected to take up the 
monthly allocation for the better part of the 
year. Any equipping of units over and 
above that of the first corps would therefore 
require additional shipping, possibly special 
convoys similar to UGS 6/2. As pointed 
out by G-3, AFHQ, to the JRC on 30 
March, no such convoys were contemplated 
in the near future "although they could be 
requested if found necessary." 2 

The possibility of using French merchant 
ships to transport military materiel for the 



1 Ltr, Prioux to JRC, 12 Mar 43, JRC Misc Doc, 
Item 5-a, Tab N. 

'Memo, Gardiner for CofS AFHQ, 16 Mar 43, 
JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab K; Memo, Rooks 
for JRC, 30 Mar 43, JRC Misc Doc, Item 
Tab M. 



North African forces had already been con- 
sidered, especially by General Giraud, who 
fully realized that shipping would determine 
the tempo of future armament deliveries. 
In writing to General Eisenhower on 22 
February, the French Commander in Chief 
had outlined the measures taken or contem- 
plated by him to put French merchant ship- 
ping to the greatest possible use in the com- 
mon war effort. He had placed all person- 
nel and cargo ships in the Allied shipping 
pool, arranged for the rehabilitation of ves- 
sels in need of repair, and had slowed down 
the movement of effectives from West to 
North Africa so as to release additional ton- 
nage to the Allied shipping pool. 3 

The tonnage promised by Giraud was 
being turned over very slowly to the pool. 
Most ships first had to be sent to the United 
Kingdom for repairs. Refitting in North 
Africa was almost impossible since dry docks 
and repair facilities in the area were beincf 
used by British and American vessels; the 
French themselves could use them only at 
the discretion of the U.S. and British au- 
thorities. 4 For some weeks French mer- 
chant shipping remained available only on 
paper. 

While General Eisenhower argued that 

3 Ltr, Giraud to Eisenhower, 22 Feb 43, JRC 
902/11 Rearmt Plan. 

4 Msg 6798, Eisenhower to Somervell, 15 Mar 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 



PHASE II OF THE PROGRAM 



75 



there should be no relation between French 
shipping and the delivery of arms to the 
North African forces, both General Mar- 
shall and the War Department, with an eye 
on the global demands on limited cargo ton- 
nage, took the contrary view. Any increase 
beyond the 25,000-ton rate, Somervell told 
Eisenhower, would have to depend on the 
French shipping effectively made available 
to the united pool. 5 

On 7 April General Bethouart informed 
General Marshall that French merchant 
ships representing over 246,000 tons had 
now been incorporated in, and were operat- 
ing as part of, the Allied pool. He hoped, 
therefore, that the War Department would 
make "appropriate" tonnage available to 
General Giraud to enable him to plan his 
program accordingly. 7 General Marshall 
replied that, although some 163,000 dead- 
weight tons of French cargo shipping al- 
lotted to the pool were on the high seas, none 
of the ships allocated to the United States 
had yet made an outbound voyage. It 
would be several months before the ships 
could make the initial outward trip as much 
repair work w r ould be necessary once the 
vessels had reached the United States. As 
this shipping became available, it might be 
possible to increase the tonnage allotted for 

° Msg 6798, Eisenhower to Somervell, 15 Mar 43, 
JRC Cable Log; Msg 2641, Marshall to Eisenhower, 
20 Feb 43, JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan; Msg 4050, 
Somervell to Eisenhower, 17 Mar 43, JRC Cable 
Log. 

' These ships included 9 troopships, 2 tankers, 
and 19 cargo vessels capable of transoceanic travel. 
The French were also using 50 cargo vessels for 
coastwise service representing 1 70,000 tons. Even- 
tually they furnished a total of 420,000 tons of 
shipping to the Allied pool. H. H. Dunham, U.S. 
Army Transportation and the Conquest of North 
Africa, 1942-43, OCT HB Monograph 9, Jan 45, 
p. 118, OCT HB. 

7 Ltr, Bethouart to Marshall, 7 Apr 43, OPD 
400 France, Sec 1. 



the transportation of French armament. 
"In this worldwide war," he concluded, "it 
it necessary to allocate the material resources 
of the Allies in such a manner that they will 
be of the greatest benefit to the common 
cause regardless of the effect produced on 
any particular group or nation, and it will be 
necessary to view the matter in this light at 
the appropriate time." 8 

It was clear that for the moment at least 
the French High Command and the JRC 
would have to continue re-equipping units 
within the limitations of the 25,000-ton 
monthly allocation. 

Near the end of April, General Leyer, 
then chief of organization at French head- 
quarters, submitted a new proposal to 
AFHQ for a second phase of rearmament. 
Simultaneously he broached the question of 
a tonnage increase with which to transport 
the additional equipment. General Giraud, 
he explained, intended in the near future to 
make an official request for further tonnage 
allotments to the extent of 100,000 tons per 
month for May and June. The object of 
the proposed second phase, as pointed out 
by General Leyer, was to increase the num- 
ber of combat units in the expeditionary 
corps in order "both to absorb some of the 
available native manpower, and to make of 
the Corps a well-balanced, coherent force." 
The strength of the corps was to be raised 
to five divisions (three infantry, one moun- 
tain, and one armored), elements of a sec- 
ond armored division, and other units. 9 

AFHQ turned down the proposal for a 
number of reasons, the most important be- 
ing that the shipping situation was still 
critical and the additional tonnage could 

8 Ltr, Marshall to Bethouart, 18 Apr 43, OPD 
400 France, Sec 1. 

"Ltr, Leyer to CofS AFHQ, 25 Apr 43, and 
Memo, JRC for CofS, 25 Apr 43, JRC Misc Doc, 
Item 5-a, Tab M. 



76 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



not be made available. Simultaneously, 
AFHQ offered a counterproposal with the 
suggestion that immediate future shipments 
under the 25,000-ton allocation be utilized 
to equip, in order of priority, the service 
units necessary for a corps of three infantry 
divisions, the mountain division already 
partly equipped, the balance of a first 
armored division, as well as additional corps 
and army troops, especially corps artillery. 10 
On 15 May General Leyer submitted a 
third, more modest proposal. Its objective 
was to increase the strength of the expedi- 
tionary corps, by 31 July, to four divisions, 
miscellaneous corps troops, and air units 
consisting of two pursuit and two dive 
bomber groups. After pointing out that the 
final organization and training of this force 
depended on the nature of its future em- 
ployment, General Leyer suggested that 
Generals Eisenhower and Giraud meet 
without delay to determine the role of the 
corps "for the campaign of the summer of 
1 943." 11 AFHQ officials received the sug- 
gestion with little enthusiasm for they were 
still without instructions from the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff as to the future employment 
of the French forces. Pending the results 
of the conference (Trident Conference, 
11-27 May) then taking place in Wash- 
ington, Maj. Gen. J. F. M. Whiteley, 
Deputy Chief of Staff, AFHQ, informed 
General Leyer that nothing was to be gained 
from a discussion between the two com- 
manders in chief at this juncture. He inti- 
mated, however, that in the event of such a 
meeting, it would be well for the French 
High Command to begin revising further 
the composition of the expeditionary corps. 

"Memo, Whiteley for Leyer, 14 May 43, JRC 
902/11 Rearmt Plan. 

"Memo, Leyer for CofS AFHQ, 15 May 43, 
JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab M. 



He pointed out in particular that the corps 
was completely lacking in heavy antiair- 
craft units. 12 

Two days before receiving AFHQ's 
answer, General Leyer had submitted one 
more proposal. It called for a second phase 
of rearmament designed to achieve the 
following objectives: ground forces — com- 
pletion of a first armored division around 
the two armored regiments already in proc- 
ess of re-equipment, nucleus of a second 
armored division, one mountain division, 
headquarters for one infantry, one armored, 
and one expeditionary corps, corps artillery, 
and additional service units; air forces — 
additional units representing 300 planes of 
all types; naval forces — 18,000 tons of 
equipment. 13 

The program being consonant with the 
suggestions offered by AFHQ on 14 May, 
the JRC immediately approved it with 
minor exceptions and recommended its 
adoption. 11 Subsequently, General Leyer 
urged that the backlog of Phase I then ar- 
riving in North African ports be followed by 
the materiel of the proposed second phase 
"without any break." It would be regret- 
table, he pointed out, if, because of the delay- 
in passing the requests on to the War De- 
partment, the small monthly tonnage al- 
lotted to the French forces should not be 
entirely used up. 15 

On 8 June the JRC informed General 
Leyer that AFHQ had approved with minor 
modifications the naval and ground force 
requirements of his proposal. The air part 

15 Memo, Whiteley for Leyer, 22 May 43, JRC 
Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab M. 

ia Ltr, Leyer to JRC, 20 May 43, JRC Misc Doc, 
Item 5-a, Tab L. 

14 Memo, Gardiner for CofS AFHQ, 23 May 43, 
JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab L. 

u Ltr, Leyer to JRC, 29 May 43, JRC 902/11 
Rearmt Plan. 



PHASE II OF THE PROGRAM 



77 



of the program was being put off pending 
certain major adjustments. General Leyer 
accepted the proposed modifications and 
urged that the necessary requisitions be 
cabled to the War Department without 
delay to make it possible for deliveries to 
follow immediately upon the liquidation 
of the first phase. As no action had yet been 
taken by 11 June, General Leyer pleaded 
with the JRC to urge AFHQ not to postpone 
sending the cable any longer. 16 

Still it was to be nearly four weeks before 
the requisitions were sent. The delay made 
sense only in the light of the military and 
strategic situation in the Mediterranean 
theater at the time. Since the close of the 
Tunisian campaign, AFHQ had been en- 
gaged in feverish preparations for Operation 
Husky, the invasion and conquest of 
Sicily. 17 U.S. troops withdrawn from Tu- 
nisia had been regrouped in Algeria where 
they were being re-equipped. Ports in 
Tunisia were being cleared and restored. 
The shipping situation had become more 
critical than ever as more troops and sup- 
plies were being brought to the theater from 
the United States and a large fleet was being 
made ready for the forthcoming operation. 
In addition, the CCS decision, reached on 
18 May, to rearm the French had made 
the commitment secondary to the equipping 
of American and British units. It had more- 
over established no specific program. 
French rearmament had become "a hand- 
to-mouth procedure in which the basic 
directive was vague and its execution 

M Memo, Artamonoff for Leyer, 8 Jun 43, JRC 
Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab L; Memo, Leyer for JRC, 
8 Jun 43, JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab L; Memo, 
Leyer for JRC, 11 Jun 43, JRC 902/11 Rearmt 
Plan. 

" The assault on Sicily was launched on 10 July 
1943. 



unmanaged." 18 Not one piece of initial 
equipment had been assigned since March. 
The program had reached a state of "defi- 
nite lethargy." 10 

It was not until 4 July that AFHQ finally 
cabled the necessary requisitions to the War 
Department with a request that the materiel 
be shipped immediately after the liquidation 
of the first phase and within the 25,000-ton 
allocation per convoy. Of this allocation, 
current maintenance needs were expected 
to take up 4,000 tons and French Navy 
needs 3,000 tons, leaving a balance of 1 8,000 
tons monthly for the proposed second 
phase. 20 

The cable reached Washington while 
General Giraud himself was en route to the 
American capital. The French Com- 
mander in Chief was accepting the invita- 
tion extended to him by President Roose- 
velt, at the time of their meeting at Anfa, 
to come to the United States for a visit. 
"Multiple reasons, not the least of which 
was the stepping-up of French rearma- 
ment," had prompted him to undertake the 
voyage at this juncture. 21 

Anticipating that General Giraud would 
press for a substantial increase in tonnage 
to implement a second phase of rearmament, 
General Eisenhower warned the War De- 
partment of the impossibility of handling 
additional tonnage in North African ports 
under existing conditions. Limited port 
capacity, he explained, was further compli- 
cated by the present use of berths for loading 
troops and supplies for Operation Husky 
and for the departure of large numbers of 

Memo, Col Magruder for Director of Opns 
ASF, 26 Jun 43, ASF Planning Div File A-46-371, 
Fr Military. 

1U ASF Diary, 23 Jun 43, ASF Planning Div Diary. 

20 Msg W-4078, AFHQ to AGWAR, 4 Jul 43, 
JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-e. 

21 Ciraud, Un seul but, la Victoire, p. 189. 



78 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



service troops for Sicily. As a result, cargo 
ships were being held at Gibraltar until in- 
side berths became available in North Af- 
rica. Only when the proposed reduction 
of shipping to Casablanca was effected 
would an increase in shipments be recom- 
mended. The French would then be asked 
to take over port operations in Casablanca 
to receive and handle all equipment in- 
tended for them. Eisenhower estimated 
that 1 November was the earliest date at 
which such a change would be possible, sub- 
ject of course to the results of Husky and 
post-HusKY operations. 22 

General Somervell immediately under- 
took to determine a shipment schedule con- 
sonant with General Eisenhower's latest 
information on port capacity in North 
Africa. On 6 July he informed General 
Marshall that the equipment required 
under the proposed second phase could be 
made ready for shipment beginning in 
September at the rate of from 50,000 to 
100,000 tons monthly. Although General 
Giraud might feel that this increase was too 
conservative, General Somervell considered 
that, in view of the present port conditions 
in North Africa, "Eisenhower was correct 
rather than Giraud." Still, he questioned 
whether some of the 70,000 additional 
troops now requested by the Allied Com- 
mander in Chief for his operations could 
not be French. To equip such French 
forces, he went on to explain, it would be 
possible to increase shipments, within sixty 
days, to the 50,000 to 100,000-ton figure 
provided North African port facilities were 
made available. The necessary shipping 
itself was "in sight." 23 

"Msg W-4173, Eisenhower to AGWAR, 6 Jul 
43, JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-e. 

"Memo, Somervell for Marshall, 6 Jul 43, 
Somervell Files, Fr 1943-44, A-46-257, Ser 1. 



The Army Service Forces had meanwhile 
completed a thorough study of the French 
rearmament situation and had drafted a 
detailed memorandum, dealing in particu- 
lar with the proposed second phase now on 
the CCS agenda. 24 

Political Complications 

General Giraud was coming to Washing- 
ton primarily to press for a resumption of 
armament deliveries. He was also coming 
for stronger political aid. To understand 
the full import of his visit and of his rela- 
tions with the U.S. Army, it is necessary to 
go back a little to pick up the tangled 
threads of internal French politics. 

It will be recalled that, since the death of 
Admiral Darlan on 24 December 1942, 
General Giraud exercised the supreme civil 
and military authority in French North and 
West Africa. In London, meanwhile, Gen- 
eral de Gaulle continued as president of the 
French National Committee and chief of 
the Free French Forces. Some time before 
the conference at Anfa in January, the two 
leaders agreed in principle that a union of 
their respective followers and armed forces 
was highly desirable. At the close of the 
Tunisian campaign they decided that the 
time was ripe for such action. On 30 May 
General de Gaulle and his associates flew to 
North Africa with a view to establishing 
there, in agreement with General Giraud, a 
central executive body to govern all French 
areas not under Axis control. 

Both men were equally concerned with 
the restoration of a free, independent 
France. But they viewed the problem from 
wholly different experiences, preconcep- 

" Memo, International Div ASF for Gen 
Clay, 7 Jul 43, JRC 905.6/1 Corres on Rearmt 
Statistics. 



PHASE II OF THE PROGRAM 



79 



tions, and temperaments. Briefly, General 
de Gaulle and his followers believed that 
they alone — who, since June 1940, had kept 
the French flag flying high by refusing to 
lay down their arms — were entitled to lead 
the French forces to final victory. In the 
political field, they envisaged the establish- 
ment, after the liberation of France, of a 
new, more progressive government. Gen- 
eral Giraud and his associates, on the other 
hand, considered that the recognition their 
leadership had received from the Anglo- 
American allies in November 1942 con- 
ferred upon them the right and duty to con- 
trol the renascent French forces. Politically 
more conservative, they favored, after the 
liberation of the motherland, a gradual re- 
turn to political freedom. The divergence 
between the views of the two leaders and the 
clash between their personalities promised 
from the beginning not harmony but a 
political struggle to the death. 

After three days of what appear to have 
been violent discussions and bitter political 
intrigues, there was established in Algiers, 
on 3 June, a French Committee of National 
Liberation (Comite Fran^ais de la Libe- 
ration Nationale — CFLN) composed of 
members of both factions and with the two 
generals as copresidents. 

Recognition by the United Nations of the 
CFLN as a de facto government of France 
or, in the narrow field of rearmament, as 
representing the agency of final jurisdiction 
in respect to French armament requirements 
was put off owing especially to President 
Roosevelt's distrust of the political motives 
of the Gaullist element in the committee. 
The British, apparently less reluctant to deal 
with the CFLN regarding military matters, 
proposed to the Munitions Assignments 
Board on 26 June that the existing proce- 
dure for assigning munitions to the French 



armed forces be revised to include an en- 
dorsement by the CFLN of all rearmament 
requests. This, they felt, was important for 
both political and financial reasons. They 
were prepared, however, to block any 
French request for membership in the MAB 
on the ground that the French were "cus- 
tomers for arms and not producers." 25 The 
American members of the MAB, on the 
other hand, considered that, barring a re- 
versal of the policy regarding recognition of 
the CFLN, the board had no authority to 
concur in, or process, the changes in pro- 
cedure proposed by the British. They felt 
that, for the moment, existing CCS direc- 
tives on the assignment of armament to the 
French should continue to apply. 26 No fur- 
ther action was taken then on the matter. 
The Allied Commander in Chief kept sub- 
mitting armament requests for the North 
African forces since they operated in the 
American sphere. Demands for other 
French forces throughout the world followed 
supply channels of the nation or forces with 
which such troops were operating. 

No sooner had the CFLN been established 
than General Giraud's authority, already 
greatly curtailed, was further questioned by 
General de Gaulle and his followers. They 
claimed that it was not practicable or ad- 
visable for one individual to hold the two 
posts of Commander in Chief and copresi- 
dent of the CFLN. The changes which 
they proposed to effect in the structure of 
French administration were such that Gen- 
eral de Gaulle would in practice assume the 
control of the armed forces. Apprised of 
their plan, President Roosevelt, on 1 7 June, 
directed General Eisenhower not to permit 

23 Memo, Wing Comdr T. E. H. Birley, Br JSM, 
for Maj Gen J. H. Burns, Exec MAB, 26 Jun 43, 
JRC 472 MAB. 

! 'Mcrao, Gen Burns for Maj C. W. Garnett, 
Br JSM, 9 Aug 43, JRC 472 MAB. 



80 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



de Gaulle or any other agency not under the 
complete control of the Allied Commander 
in Chief to command the French armed 
forces, and not to tolerate any military or 
civil direction that might interfere with mili- 
tary operations. The Americans, added the 
President, would not continue arming any 
French force in whose co-operation in Al- 
lied military operations they did not have 
complete confidence. Consequently, they 
would not, at this juncture, allow de Gaulle 
"personally or through his partisans" to con- 
trol the French Army in Africa. 27 Comply- 
ing with these instructions, General Eisen- 
hower, on 1 8 June, called in the two French 
leaders for a conference at which he declared 
that General Giraud must remain as French 
Commander in Chief as this was "no time 
for radical changes endangering the 
Rear." 28 

Four days later, on 22 June, the CFLN 
reached a compromise solution which they 
embodied in a Decree on the Organization 
of the Armed Forces. Under the terms of 
the decree there was established the Per- 
manent Military Committee of which both 
leaders and their respective chiefs of staff, 
Genera] Juin and Maj. Gen. Edgar de 
Larminat (the latter representing the Free 
French) were members. This committee, 
which had full authority over the entire 
military establishment, was charged pri- 
marily with the task of accomplishing the 
fusion of the two groups of forces. Pending 
such fusion, each of the two leaders was to 
retain the command of his respective 
forces. 28 The arrangement was of little 

27 Message summarized in William D. Leahy, I 
Was There (New York: Whittlesey House, 1950), 
p. 168. 

28 Msg 3472. Eisenhower to Sherwood, 22 Jun 
43, AFHQ 0100/21 AG Sec. 

"Decree, CFLN, 22 Jun 43, JRC 320/004 Orgn 
of Fr Army. 



comfort to General Giraud, whose views on 
the organization of the High Command as 
disclosed by him in early June were well 
known. While agreeing to the principle 
that the CFLN must control the military 
establishment, he held to the belief that the 
Commander in Chief must exercise the 
command of all forces wherever stationed 
and that one of his responsibilities must be 
to allot equipment. 30 

The two-headed organization adopted on 
22 June was bound to increase rather than 
dissipate political friction. The month of 
July in fact witnessed a rapid deterioration 
of the situation. While the theater's policy 
was not to intervene in purely French affairs, 
the Allied Commander in Chief could not 
remain indifferent to the potential danger 
created by the numerous desertions of in- 
dividuals, even units, of one faction to the 
forces of the other, as well as by the reported 
undisciplined behavior of troops currently 
assigned to guard duty. 31 Secretary of State 
Cordell Hull became alarmed over the 
CFLN's leanings toward the political aspira- 
tions of General de Gaulle and the lack of 
sympathy then shown by the committee 

30 JRC, Note on Giraud's Formula on Organiza- 
tion of Command (circa 1 Jun 43), JRC 320/004 
Orgn of Fr Army. 

" "Our policy is not to intervene in squabbles be- 
tween the Free French and the Giraud French." 
Statement by DCofS in Memo for G-3, 29 Jul 43, 
AFHQ 0100/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Free Fr. When, 
earlier in the year, mass desertions from Giraudist 
to Gaullist vessels docked in New York Harbor 
threatened to cripple the battleship Richelieu and 
other North African naval units, American officials 
were compelled to intervene and put a stop to the 
practice on the ground that it endangered the 
successful conduct of the war. Ltr, Forrestal to 
Secy Hull, 20 Feb 43, OPD 336.3 France, Sec 1. 
SeVenty-seven incidents involving Free French units 
with the native population in Tripolitania were 
reported by the British 10 Corps for the six months 
ending 3 \ July. Msg 3D/94156, MIDEAST to 
TROOPERS, 10 Aug 43, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 
Div Ops Free Fr. 



PHASE II OF THE PROGRAM 



81 



toward the Allies. He even suggested that 
it might be desirable for the U.S. Govern- 
ment to suspend deliveries of war materiel, 
at least until the situation was clarified. 32 
No such drastic action was taken, for it was 
only a few weeks since the CCS, on 18 May, 
had finally reached an agreement on re- 
arming the French. Furthermore, it was 
hoped that General Giraud's visit in Wash- 
ington might gain him such material and 
moral advantages as to strengthen his own 
authority. 33 

Not only did the 22 June arrangement 
fail to establish military unity, but it tended 
to complicate the relationship and channels 
of communications between the French and 
AFHQ. An illustration may be found in 
the efforts of the Free French headquarters, 
on 1 July, to establish contact with AFHQ 
with a view to obtaining equipment and, 
incidentally, representation on the JRC. 
G-3, AFHQ, urged that these efforts be 
given no encouragement until French politi- 
cal and military unity had been achieved, 
and then not until a change of policy had 
been approved by CCS. General Smith 
endorsed the recommendation and advised 
General de Larminat, chief of staff of the 
Free French Forces, to contact the appro- 
priate sections of General Giraud's head- 
quarters which, he pointed out, had com- 
plete information on the organization of the 
U.S. Army. He then closed the door on the 

35 Leahy, op. cit., p. 169. 

33 It was during General Giraud's absence from 
Algiers that the CFLN, on 9 July, fixed by decree 
the powers of the newly created Commissioner of 
Armament, Provisioning, and Reconstruction. 
Decree, CFLN, 9 Jul 43, JRC 320/004 Orgn of Fr 
Army. Under the terms of the decree, the Com- 
missioner (Monnet) was charged, inter alia, with 
the task of ensuring — with the co-operation of mili- 
tary authorities — the implementation of rearma- 
ment programs as laid down by the Permanent 
Military Committee. 



matter of Free French representation in the 
JRC by explaining to de Larminat that all 
appointments to the committee had in the 
past been made by General Giraud and 
would in all probability be made in the 
future by the Permanent Military Com- 
mittee. 34 

The issue was soon reopened by the Free 
French. On 3 July General de Larminat 
offered several units from a Free French 
division for rear guard duty in Tunisia in 
replacement of American troops about to be 
relieved, on condition that the division itself 
be re -equipped by AFHQ within the follow- 
ing two months. Again G-3, AFHQ, rec- 
ommended that no consideration be given 
to re -equipping more units except through 
a unified French High Command. Maj. 
Gen. Humfrey M. Gale, Chief Administra- 
tive Officer, AFHQ, went even further. He 
proposed that issues of British equipment to 
the Free French Forces be discontinued in- 
asmuch as "it was assumed" that these 
would shortly be absorbed in the North 
African Army. The purpose of his recom- 
mendation, he explained, was not to remove 
a liability from the British, but to simplify 
the supply and maintenance of the French 
forces. 35 

In the opinion of Allied officials, there- 
fore, it was essential that the French achieve 
the fusion of their forces without delay. 
Only such a step would put an end to the 
inconsistent arrangement under which some 
units (those controlled by General de 
Gaulle) were equipped and maintained by 

31 Ltr, de Larminat to CofS AFHQ, 1 Jul 43, 
Memo, Rooks for CofS AFHQ, 3 Jul 43, and Ltr, 
Smith to de Larminat, 4 Jul 43, AFHQ 0100/12C 
G-3 Div Ops Free Fr. 

35 Ltr, de Larminat to Smith, 3 Jul 43, Memo, 
Rooks for DCofS AFHQ, 4 Jul 43, and Memo, Gale 
for ACofS G~3, 6 Jul 43, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 
Div Ops Free Fr. 



82 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



the United Kingdom through the Middle 
East Command, while the others were pro- 
visioned by the United States through 
AFHQ. But as General Giraud sped to- 
ward the United States, fusion was still in 
the planning stage. 

Implementing Phase II 

The French Commander in Chief reached 
Washington on 7 July and began at once a 
ten-day round of important conferences 
with President Roosevelt, Generals Marshall 
and Somervell, and other officials. On 8 
July the CCS invited him to present an ac- 
count of the French military situation. 86 
After describing briefly the part which his 
forces had played in the battle of Tunisia 
and the "tremendous moral effect" which 
the first phase of rearmament had had on 
them, General Giraud reported that the 
expeditionary corps was now ready for 
action. The corps, of a strength of from 
70,000 to 75,000 men, included two in- 
fantry divisions, one mountain division, and 
one half of an armored division. He in- 
tended to add to it approximately 13,000 
goumiers (Moroccan riflemen), "who had 
given a good account of themselves in 
Tunisia." General Giraud then outlined his 
plans regarding a second corps similar to 
the first, this to be available by September. 
The second corps, he explained, would serve 
to relieve the first after the initial phase of 
operations had ended. To prepare it, he 
must receive by 1 August the equipment 
necessary to complete the first armored divi- 
sion and to rearm a second, as well as two 
additional infantry divisions and general 
reserve and service troops. He needed also 

38 General Giraud was accompanied by General 
Bethouart, Vice Adm. Raymond Fenard, Lt. Col. 
Albert Le Bel, and Maj. Andre Beaufre. 



an allotment of uniforms and shoes for 
100,000 men, because his forces, which he 
estimated then at 417,000 men, were "prac- 
tically in rags, a factor naturally detrimental 
to morale." 37 Finally he desired some light 
escort vessels to be assigned to him for con- 
voy duty between West and North Africa. 
He was fully aware, he added, of the supply 
and tonnage implications of his proposal. 
He urged, nevertheless, that the utmost ef- 
forts be made to ensure that the additional 
divisions and general reserve units would be 
placed on a fully active footing by Septem- 
ber. He felt certain that the CCS appreci- 
ated the importance of having a French 
force "big and powerful enough to seize the 
opportunity of waging war on French soil." 
Giraud then spoke of the efficient overhaul- 
ing and refitting of naval units being effected 
in the United States "under conditions of 
great pressure." He expected that a num- 
ber of vessels such as the battleship Riche- 
lieu, the cruiser Montcalm, and several mod- 
ern destroyers would shortly be ready to take 
their place in battle wherever they were most 
needed. Before concluding, General Gi- 
raud urged the CCS to place full trust in 
the French Army and its command, and to 
look upon it as a weapon capable of ren- 
dering the greatest service to the common 
cause, especially when operations should 
extend to the continent of Europe and to 
French soil. 

The CCS immediately took up General 
Giraud's proposals. General Marshall first 
pointed out that the U.S. Chiefs of Staff 
were "in full harmony" with General Gi- 
raud's plans and that the details of his re- 
quirements were being studied by the Com- 

37 This was in addition to a previous request for 
100,000 sets of summer clothing from General Eis- 
enhower (Msg 5746, AFHQ to AGWAR, 11 Mar 
43, JRG Cable Log). 



PHASE II OF THE PROGRAM 



83 



bined Staff Planners. He then disclosed 
that War Department officials had decided 
to suspend the activation of a number of 
U.S. divisions previously planned for the 
period between August and the end of the 
year, in order to make certain that the ma- 
teriel required by the French would be 
available to them. All that needed to be 
done, General Marshall declared, was to 
implement the requests just submitted by 
General Giraud. Heretofore, the limiting 
factor in rearming the French had been a 
shortage of tonnage and escort facilities. 
Now the tonnage situation had improved, 
although the problem of port capacity in 
North Africa had become rather acute be- 
cause of forthcoming operations. The 
U-boat situation likewise had improved, said 
Admiral King, who added that he was 
"much in favor" of General Giraud's plan. 
In his opinion it was clearly an economy of 
effort to arm the French forces already pres- 
ent in North Africa. The American Navy, 
he asserted, would continue to do its best 
on behalf of the French Navy. His view 
was fully supported by General Arnold who 
considered it "expedient and economical" 
to equip the French Air Forces already in 
the theater. He explained that a recent 
French request for 300 additional planes 
was being studied and a proposal for the 
allocation of this number of aircraft would 
soon be submitted. 38 On the whole, he 
concluded, the French squadrons would be 
equipped with the planes they needed to 
accomplish their mission. As the meeting 
broke up, General Giraud expressed his 
gratitude for the assurances he had been 
given and added that time was the essential 
factor to be considered. 39 



38 The request was contained in General Leyer's 
memorandum of 20 May. 

** Min, CCS Spec Mtg, 8 Jul 43. 



The next day, General Giraud called on 
General Somervell to discuss the details of 
his proposal. After their conference, Gen- 
eral Somervell expressed to General Mar- 
shall his confidence that the French request 
could be implemented. The major items 
of equipment, he explained, were available 
for immediate shipment except for the nec- 
essary rifles which would have to be obtained 
as before from the United Kingdom. Ship- 
ping could be provided to the extent of 
200,000 tons representing approximately 
twenty-eight ships. These ships would be 
added to a number of convoys, for the cur- 
rent heavy drain on escort vessels precluded 
the possibility of a special convoy. The 
chief stumbling block, Somervell empha- 
sized, remained the limited North African 
port capacity. It would be well, therefore, 
if General Giraud were required to obtain 
Eisenhower's consent to the addition of any 
shipping before any promises were made in 
Washington to deliver the materiel before 
1 November — the date at which General 
Eisenhower expected the situation of port 
capacity to ease up. The 1 00,000 uniforms, 
on the other hand, could be shipped at once 
in July and August as filler cargo. General 
Somervell then reiterated an opinion he had 
expressed on earlier occasions. Inasmuch 
as a successful assault on Sicily would bring 
increasing demands from General Eisen- 
hower for additional troops to exploit the 
initial gains, "it certainly would seem de- 
sirable to make use of French troops in 
North Africa rather than to employ troops 
from America and the additional shipping 
which their use would entail." He sug- 
gested accordingly that the Allied Com- 
mander in Chief be asked to review the 
North African port situation with Giraud 
after Husky had progressed a little further, 
and to advise the War Department of the 



84 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



date when port capacity would become 
adequate.* 

The French Commander in Chief then 
reported to General Marshall the substance 
of his conference with General Somervell. 
He stressed the importance he attached to 
the dispatch of a special convoy to arrive in 
Africa the latter part of July, a matter 
which, he declared, he had put before the 
President. 41 General Marshall informed 
him that twenty-eight ships probably would 
be found, although not at one time, but 
warned him both of the difficulty of finding 
escort vessels for a separate convoy or for 
the enlargement of scheduled convoys, and 
of the congestion in North African ports. 
He also pointed out that priorities would 
have to be determined by the Allied Com- 
mander in Chief. The War Department, 
he explained, could not "from this distance" 
deny General Eisenhower's requests for 
certain shipments in favor of some others, 
and at the same time hold him responsible 
for the success of operations. No final de- 
cision therefore could be reached until 
Giraud had discussed the entire problem 
with Eisenhower. Turning to the question 
of the employment of French troops, Gen- 
eral Marshall repeated a statement he had 
made at nearly every CCS meeting at which 
the matter had come up for discussion: it 
was the "urgent desire" of the U.S. Chiefs 
of Staff to have General Eisenhower use 
French troops wherever possible rather than 
to import U.S. troops. Thus was high- 
lighted the often-expressed American thesis 
that the rearmament of the North African 
forces constituted one of the most economi- 
cal ways of providing additional troops for 

40 Memo, Somervell for Marshall, 10 Jul 43, JRG 
902/11 Rearmt Plan. 

"Memo, Giraud for Marshall, 10 Jul 43, JRC 
902/11 Rearmt Plan. 



future operations on the European conti- 
nent. As he took leave of General Marshall, 
the French Commander in Chief expressed 
the hope that the promise of another large 
shipment of supplies and the assurance that 
his forces would be employed in future 
operations would have a "tremendous 
psychological effect" on the political situa- 
tion in North Africa. 42 

The conversations with General Giraud 
having come to an end, War Department 
officials urged the MAB to take immediate 
action on the latest French demands. 
Simultaneously, General Marshall informed 
AFHQ of the plans now under considera- 
tion in Washington for Phase II. The 
President, he pointed out, was naturally 
desirous of backing Giraud's hand as much 
as possible and would like to tell him "some- 
thing encouraging" before his departure 
from the United States. Could the theater, 
at this time, give any hint as to what might 
be done beyond the pessimistic prospect 
indicated in Eisenhower's earlier report on 
North African port capacities? 43 

This appeal brought instant, heartening 
news from the theater. General Smith ex 1 
plained that plans now in effect at Casa- 
blanca would free sufficient port capacity 
to permit the proposed 200,000 tons of 
additional French rearmament to be un- 
loaded in that port. He recommended, 
however, that shipments be made after 
July and at a rate of not more than nine 
ships a convoy. The monthly 25,000-ton 
allocation could continue to be delivered in 
Oran, Casablanca, and Algiers. 44 



a Memo, Marshall for Arnold, Somervell, Mc- 
Narney, Handy, and Brig Gen Raymond G. Moses, 
12 Jul 43, OCS A-45-534 (France). 

" Msg 2594, Marshall to Smith, 15 Jul 43, JRC 
902/11 Rearmt Plan. 

" Msg W-4989, Smith to Marshall, 16 Jul 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 



PHASE II OF THE PROGRAM 



85 



General Giraud, then in Canada on a 
four-day visit before his return to Algiers, 
was apprised by General Marshall of the 
good news and of the details of the final 
arrangements just concluded: approxi- 
mately twenty-seven ships would bring the 
equipment of Phase II to Casablanca at the 
rate of nine per convoy. 45 In addition, 
clothing and accouterments for 200,000 
men would be shipped as filler cargo on the 
regular July and August convoys. Rifles 
would be ordered from the United King- 
dom. Ammunition would continue to be 
shipped at the customary monthly rate. 
Such action, General Marshall noted, repre- 
sented an "immediate substantial compli- 
ance" with Giraud's requests. The War 
Department also proposed, he added, to 
place the French forces on the same status 
as U. S. troops in regard to issue and main- 
tenance of uniforms and personal equip- 
ment entailing usual replacements. 46 

In the theater, meanwhile, plans were 



45 While in Canada, General Giraud was offered, 
under Canada's lend-lease program, some 200 ar- 
tillery pieces, including 3.7-inch antiaircraft guns, 
100,000 complete sets of clothing, and 1,000 trucks. 
The guns were to be used for the defense of the 
principal ports of embarkation, and the trucks 
largely for the transportation of mobile reserves. 
General Bethouart having requested the War De- 
partment's approval of this offer of assistance, the 
views of General Eisenhower were sought regarding 
the matter. The Allied Commander in Chief re- 
plied that he saw no objection to the acceptance 
of the Canadian offer, provided the effect was to 
reduce the U.S. assignment under the eleven-divi- 
sion program, which he considered of "highest 
priority." He cautioned, however, against accept- 
ing the 3.7-inch antiaircraft guns, as he regarded 
the introduction of a new caliber undesirable, espe- 
cially in view of the present shortage of trained 
French artillery personnel. The French eventually 
received the 100,000 sets of clothing. Msg 4246, 
Somervell to Eisenhower, 5 Aug 43, and Msg 
W-6985, Eisenhower to Somervell, 10 Aug 43, JRC 
Cable Log. 

"Msg, Marshall to Giraud, 16 Jul 43, JRC 
902/11 Rearmt Plan. 



being made for the reception of the materiel 
of Phase II. Since heavy demands for U.S. 
service troops in other areas were forcing 
the rapid closing down of all American base 
activities at Casablanca, it soon would be 
necessary to turn over to the French the 
entire responsibility for handling materiel 
and for operating the motor vehicle assem- 
bly in that port. In anticipation of such 
a move, French authorities were urged to 
take immediate steps, in agreement with At- 
lantic Base Section, to make sure that they 
would become self-sufficient in handling 
future shipments at Casablanca at the earli- 
est possible date. They were also advised 
that they, and not SOS, NATOUSA, would 
be responsible for handling directly from 
the ships the distribution of uniforms, per- 
sonal equipment, and maintenance items 
due to arrive as filler cargo on future 
convoys. 47 

On 31 July AFHQ requested the War 
Department to delete from the standard 
tables of allowance certain corps and army 
headquarters items which the French did 
not require. Among the items listed were 
regimental reference libraries, general-use 
dictionaries, manual coin-counting ma- 
chines, American flags, and the like. The 
arrival of full complements of American 
flags in earlier shipments had already caused 
considerable surprise among the French 
service troops assigned the task of opening 
boxes containing rearmament. By then the 
MAC ( G ) had approved the assignment of 
200,000 sets of clothing and of the equip- 
ment requested by the theater on 4 July. 
Phase II was now a reality. Still, no less 

" Memo, CofS NATOUSA for JRC, 17 Jun 43, 
and Memo, JRC for Leyer, 19 Jul 43, JRC 902/11 
Rearmt Plan; Msg L-436, SOS NATOUSA to CG 
NATOUSA, 27 Jul 43, and Msg 5718, CG 
NATOUSA to CG SOS NATOUSA, 29 Jul 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 



86 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



than two months had elapsed between the 
submission of General Leyer's memoran- 
dum of 20 May and the action finally taken 
by the MAB. 48 

When General Giraud landed in Algiers 
on 25 July, after a brief stop in England, he 
could be well pleased with the results of his 
trip to the American continent. Not only 
had he succeeded in reviving interest in the 
rearmament program, but in addition he 
had the promise that within a few days 
another substantial shipment would be on 
its way to North African ports. There was 
a chance that these positive material gains 
might help disperse the dark clouds hover- 
ing over his political horizon. At any rate, 
when they became known, these gains acted 
as a tonic on the morale of French troops. 
The French, cabled General Eisenhower, 
were most enthusiastic about the action 
taken in Washington. They regretted only 
that the assignment of additional aircraft 
had been deferred until the next calendar 
year. As the first ships bringing the equip- 
ment of Phase II reached Casablanca in 
late August, General Giraud seized the 
occasion to thank General Marshall for his 
"comprehensive, warm, and effective sup- 
port in making known to all in America the 
needs of the French Army." 49 

Fusion of the Giraud and de Gaulle Forces 

Fusion of all French armed forces still 
remained the major problem facing both 
the French and AFHQ. To expedite 
fusion, General Eisenhower had, during 

™ Ltr, CinC AFHQ to TAG, 31 Jul 43, JRC 904 
Modification of Rearmt; Min, MAC (G) 102d 
Mtg, 15 Jul 43; Min, MAC (G) 103d Mtg, 24 
Jul 43. 

"Msg W-6517, Eisenhower to Marshall for 
Arnold, 4 Aug 43, JRC Cable Log; Ltr, Giraud to 
Marshall, 27 Aug 43, OPD 400 France, Sec II. 



General Giraud's visit to the United States, 
submitted to the CCS three important rec- 
ommendations. He had proposed that 
thereafter all French forces be controlled 
through AFHQ; that, pending a final CCS 
decision on the matter, no further issue of 
British equipment be made to the Free 
French; and that General Giraud be re- 
quested to include the Free French Forces 
in the target of eleven divisions due to be 
re-equipped under the Anfa Agreement. 
The Combined Chiefs, on 30 July, endorsed 
the recommendations. 50 

By this time the French themselves had 
come to the realization that the two-staff 
arrangement established on 22 June was 
impracticable and must be done away with. 
On 31 July, after several weeks of tension, 
the CFLN finally promulgated two decrees 
which brought unity of command and made 
the fusion of forces a reality. All armed 
forces were to be integrated under one single 
military administration and placed under 
the over-all command of General Giraud. 
In addition, the existing arrangement under 
which the two copresidents of the CFLN 
presided alternately was modified: Giraud 
was to preside over debates whenever they 
dealt with purely military matters; de Gaulle 
was to be in the chair when political or 
economic matters or general policy was 
to be discussed. 51 The new organization, 
incidentally, was consonant with the wishes 
of the Resistance forces in France. Meeting 
secretly in Paris on 27 May, the National 
Council of the Resistance had formally rec- 

50 Msg, Eisenhower to CCS, 14 Jul 43, NAF 289; 
Min, CCS 104th Mtg, 30 Jul 43; Msg 3825, CCS 
to Eisenhower, 31 Jul 43, FAN 176. 

61 See The Kittredge (Capt. T. B., USN) Papers: 
FRANCE: Political A-2 Aug 43, copy in OCMH; 
see also, Marey, "Le Rearmement fran?ais en 
Afrique du Nord (1942-1944)," Revue Politique et 
Parlementaire (October, 1947). 



PHASE II OF THE PROGRAM 



87 



ognized General de Gaulle as the political 
leader, and General Giraud as the Com- 
mander in Chief, of all elements, both within 
and outside of France, aligned against the 
Axis.* 2 

In the ensuing reorganization of the 
French High Command, officers from both 
factions were appointed to key posts : Chief 
of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. Roger Leyer; 
Assistant Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Pierre 
Koenig; Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Adm. 
Andre Lemonnier; Assistant Chief of Staff, 
Rear Adm. Philippe Auboyneau; Chief of 
Air Staff, Lt. Gen. Rene Bouscat. 53 

A final step toward unification was taken 
in September with the establishment of a 
Commissariat of National Defense, a sort 
of inner war cabinet which replaced the 
Permanent Military Committee and whose 
function was to co-ordinate the activities of 
the three chiefs of staff. 

The belated fusion of the armed forces 
gave rise at once to a number of crucial 
problems. One was the manner in which 
the former Free French Forces were to re- 
ceive further issues of war materiel. 

A few days after his return to Algiers, 
General Giraud was informed of the CCS 
decision regarding the incorporation of the 
Free French Forces in the eleven-division 
program. He then learned "with stupefac- 
tion" that, not only would the British- 
equipped Free French units cease to be a 
British responsibility, but they were to return 
to British depots without delay all the 
materiel in their possession, including cloth- 

S2 MS #B-035, Role joue par les Forces Fran- 
daises de 1'Interieur pendant l'occupation de la 
France avant et apres le debarquement du 6 Juin 
1944 (Commandant Roge, Service Historique de 
l'Armee, Section Etudes), OCMH. 

M Memo, Lt Col John C. Knox for Col J. Ter- 
rence, 2 Aug 43, AFHQ 0100/26 Liaison Sec Rpts 
to G— 3 on Political Situation. 



ing, individual equipment, armament, 
armored vehicles, and other organizational 
equipment. In practice the French Com- 
mander in Chief was acquiring 1 3,000 addi- 
tional combatants, that is to say, 3,000 from 
the Leclerc Column, and 10,000 from the 
1st Free French Division, also known as the 
Koenig Division, without obtaining a corre- 
sponding increase in materiel. He pro- 
tested, but in vain. Faced with the prospect 
of having to "sacrifice" two of his own 
divisions in order to make room for the 
former Free French, General Giraud an- 
nounced his intention to revise the composi- 
tion of the Anfa Plan as follows : 4 armored 
divisions of the proposed new triangular 
type, instead of 3 of the old square type (in 
this manner, the Leclerc Column, trained 
in tank warfare and now in process of being 
raised to the strength of a division [the 2d 
DFL], would be re-equipped as a fourth 
armored division, thus leaving intact the 3 
already activated) , and 7 infantry divisions, 
with an eighth, the British-equipped 1st 
DFL, remaining for the present at least a 
British responsibility outside the Anfa 
Plan. 54 

G-3, AFHQ, immediately objected that 
the ratio of 7 infantry to 4 armored divisions 
as proposed by General Giraud constituted 
an unbalanced force. The deputy theater 
commander, on the other hand, considered 
that four armored divisions of the new type 
would require fewer tanks, 55 therefore less 
tank maintenance and technical supervision 
as well as less shipping. 56 Overriding G-3's 
objection, he urged that the proposed ratio 

w Interv with Gen Giraud, Dec 48 ; Memo, Brig 
Gen Sidney P. Spalding for CofS, AFHQ, 5 Aug 
43, JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab Q. 

M 980 as against 1,170 in three old-type divisions. 

16 Memo, Deputy Theater Comdr for CofS 
AFHQ, 10 Aug 43, JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-a, 
Tab Q. 



88 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



be accepted. AFHQ approved Giraud's 
proposal and the 2d DFL was incorporated 
in the rearmament program as a fourth 
armored division. It was then renamed the 
2d Armored Division (2d DB), and the 
former 2d DB, commanded by Brig. Gen. 
Jacques de Vernejoul, was redesignated the 
5th DB. 

General Giraud's plan regarding the 1st 
DFL posed a more delicate problem. As 
reported by G-3, the further issue of British 
equipment to that division could be made 
only at the expense of British troops com- 
mitted to battle, since shipping limitations 
precluded for some time to come the ship- 
ment to the theater of sufficient British 
equipment to take care of the unit. 57 It was 
considered inadvisable, therefore, to main- 
tain the division any longer with British 
equipment. On 29 August General Smith, 
after warning General Giraud that the 1st 
DFL could not begin to receive British issues 
until after the end of the year (by which 
time its equipment would be reduced as 
a result of normal deterioration), urged 
him to consider making such adjustments 
in his program as might appear to him 
expedient. 58 

While discouraging, the above statement 
was, as later pointed out by G-3, "suffi- 
ciently indefinite as to lead the French to 
live in hopes of finding a solution to the 
problem within a month or two." 59 The 
solution which General Giraud adopted was 
simply the one he had proposed earlier, 
namely, to keep the British-equipped 1st 
DFL, now being raised to the strength of a 

" Memo, ACofS G-3 for CofS AFHQ, 25 Aug 43, 
AFHQ 0100/4 SACS Red Sec, Fr Matters, Vol. I. 

5S Ltr, CofS AFHQ to Giraud, 29 Aug 43, signed 
and mailed 6 Sep 43, AFHQ 0100/4 SACS Red 
Sec, Fr Matters, Vol. I. 

r '" Memo, ACofS G-3 for DCofS, 5 Oct 43, AFHQ 
0100/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Free Fr. 



full division by the addition of a third bri- 
gade, as an eighth infantry division. 60 He 
then announced that it would be employed 
in Italy "alongside their old comrades of 
the Eighth Army." To complete its equip- 
ment, the French Commander in Chief 
ordered the other British-equipped unit 
stripped of its materiel before leaving Tu- 
nisia for Morocco, there to receive its new 
U.S. equipment. Such action had become 
possible, for the British military authorities 
had just reversed their earlier policy requir- 
ing the Free French Forces to return their 
British equipment. They had now come to 
regard this materiel as unserviceable. 81 
Soon, however, it became known that the 
third brigade being added to the 1st DFL 
was a U.S. -equipped unit. AFHQ authori- 
ties immediately pointed out that the idea 
of having any division take part in active 
operations with two different types of equip- 
ment was "verging on madness." 62 To dis- 
pel once and for all the uncertainty then 
current in French circles, the Deputy Chief 
of Staff, AFHQ, made it clear to General 
Giraud that the Eighth Army "no longer 
regarded the 1st DFL as theirs and would 
not call it forward." 63 The French Com- 
mander in Chief had now no other recourse 
but to incorporate the division in the re- 
armament program. 

In a letter to General Eisenhower, dated 



"° The division, organized from the time of its 
activation on the British model, retained the brigade 
organization throughout the war. All other French 
divisions adopted the American organization with 
only minor modifications. 

" Memo, CinC for G.O.C. Tunisia District, 9 Sep 
43, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Free Fr. 

m Ltr, Whiteley to Gruenther, CofS Fifth Army, 
17 Oct 43, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Free Fr. 

'"Ltr, Whiteley to Giraud, 6 Oct 43, JRC 
370/002 Employment of Free Fr Divs; Handwrit- 
ten comment, Whiteley to G-3, 18 Oct 43, on 
Memo, Rooks for DCofS, 5 Oct 43, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Free Fr. 



PHASE II OF THE PROGRAM 



89 



26 October, General Giraud proposed a 
second revision of the Anfa Plan to include 
the 1st DFL, now renamed 1st Motorized 
Infantry Division (1st DMI), as an eighth 
infantry division. 64 The four armored di- 
visions now on the program being prac- 
tically equivalent to three of the type orig- 
inally planned, he considered that the 
number of infantry divisions could be raised 
from 7 to 8 without increasing the over-all 
figure of 1 1 divisions with regard to ma- 
teriel. The revision, he concluded, would 
be "within the spirit of the Anfa Agree- 
ment." G-3 officials voiced the opinion 
that General Giraud's proposal was a step 
in the right direction. The addition of one 
infantry division, they pointed out, would 
improve the ratio between infantry and 
armor. The issue with respect to the 1st 
DMI could not be settled then and there. 
Suffice it to say that the division ultimately 
was re-equipped with U.S. materiel and 
included among the expeditionary forces 
for operations overseas. 65 

Results of Phases I and II 

By the time the last shipments of Phase II 
equipment reached North Africa in late 
September, the French had re-equipped or 
were in process of re-equipping with Amer- 
ican materiel an expeditionary force con- 
sisting of four infantry divisions (the 2d 
Moroccan Infantry, 3d Algerian Infantry, 
4th Moroccan Mountain, and 9th Colonial 
Infantry), two armored divisions (the 1st 



01 Throughout the remainder of the war the 
personnel of the division continued, for senti- 
mental reasons, to refer to their unit as the 1st DFL. 

65 Ltr, Giraud to Eisenhower, 26 Oct 43, AFHQ 
0100/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt; Memo, Brig 
Gen William C. Crane, DACofS G-3 for G-3, 1 
Nov 43, AFHQ 0100/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Free Fr; 
for final re-equipment of 1st DMI, see pp. 11 16-1 171 
below. 



DB and 5th DB), as well as headquarters, 
corps troops, and service units. The task 
of arming these units was complicated by 
the fact that there had been serious gaps 
in deliveries of U.S. materiel. No auto- 
matic rifles had yet been received. There 
were shortages in certain types of trucks, 
signal and medical equipment, tentage, and 
other items. Equipment for the four Ord- 
nance companies requested in July had not 
been assigned by the MAB. As a result 
the French were forced to make substitu- 
tions for the missing items from existing 
French stocks. Already, in August, the 
JRC had called attention to these facts and 
had pointed out that because of their ex- 
pansion the expeditionary forces required a 
considerable monthly tonnage of spare ma- 
jor items, major assemblies, and spare parts. 
A plan to furnish them with D and C rations 
(to which the French had nothing corre- 
sponding), as well as ammunition, was 
under consideration. 6 * 5 

Training, meanwhile, was proceeding 
satisfactorily. The task of General King- 
man's French Training Section was made 
easier by the fact that most of the units 
being re-equipped consisted of old and 
battle-tried regiments, a large part of whose 
personnel had gone through both the 
1939-40 and the Tunisian campaigns. 67 
In fact there were exceptionally few men 
who had not had some military training. 
Hence, the state of preparedness of the 
expeditionary forces depended upon their 
capability of becoming acquainted with the 
new materiel, of learning equipment main- 
tenance and repair techniques, and of 
training additional drivers for general- 
purpose vehicles. It was believed that a 

* Memo, Artamonoff for Brig Gen Clarence L. 
Adcock, 2 Aug 43. T RC Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab T, 
m See pp. 1230 ff] , below. 



90 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



sufficient number of tank crews with pre- 
vious experience in French tank units was 
available for the regiments of the two 
armored divisions. Most combat units of 
the four infantry divisions had already 
acquired a good knowledge of their new 
materiel, and it was reported that they 
would shortly be ready for action. The 
armored divisions on the other hand would 
not be ready for some months yet, largely 
because of delays expected in the receipt 
of signal and ordnance equipment, tools, 
service trucks, and spare parts.* 8 

The status of the rearmament of the air 
units was less encouraging. The air pro- 
gram was said to have completely stalled. 
So far squadrons had been issued only a few 
planes with the result that their morale was 
seriously impaired. As for naval units, they 
had received only a small monthly alloca- 
tion of supplies. 69 

The effort to rearm the French North 
African forces was, it can be seen, almost 
exclusively American, and rightly so since 
the original commitment, by agreement 
with the British, was an American one. By 

68 Memo cited |n. 66 J 
68 Ibid. 



way of comparison, it is interesting to note 
that the contribution of the British to the 
rearmament of the ground forces was then 
estimated at 5 percent in terms of tonnage, 
and of the air forces at 10 percent in terms 
of aircraft and related equipment. As for 
the naval forces, practically the entire fleet 
was being overhauled and re-equipped in 
the United States. It was also being sup- 
plied and maintained chiefly with American 
materiel in the Mediterranean. The Brit- 
ish for their part had made temporary re- 
pairs on vessels harbored in Alexandria, to 
enable them to reach the United States for 
complete overhauling. 70 They had also re- 
paired a number of small craft not capable 
of crossing the Atlantic. It was estimated 
that, when the naval program had been 
completed, the United States would have 
financed 95 percent and the British 5 per- 
cent of the cost. 71 



10 The French fleet harbored at Alexandria since 
June 1940 had thrown its lot with the North 
African Naval Forces at the end of April 1943. 

71 Memo, Spalding for Brig Gen A. R. Wilson, 
14 Aug 43, JRC 902/II Rearmt Plan. The figures 
were prepared in reply to a question raised by a 
senatorial committee as to the relative amount of 
rearmament furnished by the United States and 
by the United Kingdom to the French in North 
Africa. 



CHAPTER VI 



Phase III of the Program 

(Mid -August-November 1943) 



The 15 August Plan 

The practicability of a third rearmament 
phase had been examined in Washington 
long before the ships carrying the equip- 
ment of the second had docked in Casa- 
blanca. In late June, while waiting for 
the theater to send in the requisitions for 
Phase II, War Department agencies were 
already seeking ways and means to com- 
plete the eleven-division program in its 
entirety. To proceed with intelligent plan- 
ning, they needed to obtain an accurate 
picture of the current status of equipment 
from all sources in the hands of the French 
or available to them in the theater. To this 
end, Operations Division requested AFHQ 
on 1 July to furnish information on ( 1 ) the 
amount of enemy materiel captured in Tuni- 
sia likely to become available for French re- 
armament; (2) the amount of American 
equipment turned over to the French from 
American theater stocks over and above 
that shipped from the United States; (3) 
the number of units still to be completely 
or partially equipped and, in the latter case, 
the list of items already provided; and (4) 
the amount of materiel required to com- 
plete the eleven-division program, with an 
indication of the earliest dates on which 
this equipment could be "profitably re- 



ceived and assimilated" by the French. 
The warning was added, as it had been in 
connection with Phase II, that rifles, some 
signal equipment, and certain trucks were 
not available from stocks in the United 
States. 1 

The desirability of using captured enemy 
equipment for French rearmament had 
long been considered by AFHQ. Pursuant 
to a CCS directive on the disposal of such 
equipment, the Allied Commander in Chief 
had, on 16 May, given French requirements 
fourth priority in the allocation of usable 
enemy materiel. He had instructed the 
JRC to handle its issue to the French. In 
the case of captured equipment and trans- 
port of French origin, he had directed the 
Allied forces in Tunisia to hand over all 
such items to the French. While enemy 
equipment, much of which had been left 
in woods, mountains, and isolated locations, 
was being collected, removed, segregated, 
and classified, advance reports indicated 
that Axis troops had smashed and burned 
the bulk of their materiel "with their usual 
thoroughness." Just as Eisenhower had an- 
ticipated, when the count was completed, it 
was found that the total serviceable equip- 
ment from this source was very small in- 

'Msg 1453, AGWAR to Eisenhower, 1 Jul 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 



92 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



deed. It would not be sufficient to equip 
even one division. 2 

The situation with regard to U.S. and 
British equipment loaned to North African 
troops during the Tunisian campaign was 
not any brighter. The materiel was now 
in such poor condition that AFHQ, revis- 
ing its earlier decision, ruled that it was no 
longer to be returned to U.S. and British 
stocks but was to be turned over to Terri- 
torial units to supplement the French mate- 
riel in their possession. 3 As far as the re- 
armament program was concerned, this 
equipment simply did not exist. 

In order to answer the other questions 
raised in the Operations Division query of 
1 July, the JRC requested the French High 
Command to furnish without delay a com- 
plete list of the units still to be re-equipped 
after Phase II had been completed, to- 
gether with a computation of the ground 
and air force equipment required for the 
purpose. 4 

While the French General Staff was pre- 
paring the necessary lists, General Giraud, 
then in Washington primarily to obtain the 
armament of Phase II, was also pressing for 
a third phase. General Marshall agreed 
with him in regarding as a commitment the 
task of completing the eleven-division pro- 
gram, and so informed General Eisenhower. 
The U.S. Chief of Staff then dispatched to 
the theater Brig. Gen. Sidney P. Spalding 
for the purpose of working out with AFHQ 
a progressive plan to bring the entire pro- 
gram to completion. At the same time, he 

2 CCS 200/2/D, 23 Apr 43; Dir, Eisenhower To 
All Concerned, 16 May 43, JRC Misc Doc, Item 
5-a, Tab T; Quotation from Ltr, Eisenhower to 
Giraud, 20 Jun 43, AFHQ 01 00/1 2C Div Ops Fr 
Rearmt, Vol. II. 

3 Msg W-4636, AFHQ to AGWAR, 11 Jul 43, 
OPD 400 France, Sec II. 

'Memo, JRC for Col Blanc, 10 Jul 43, JRC 
902/11 Rearmt Plan. 



requested General Eisenhower to indicate 
at an early date the rate of shipping and 
priority of supplies desired for such a com- 
mitment. 5 

All together five divisions, several head- 
quarters, and a number of supporting com- 
bat and service units remained to be 
equipped. The task was substantial. To 
enable the Joint Rearmament Committee 
to carry it out with greater efficiency, the- 
ater officials decided that the committee 
must undergo some changes. On 7 August 
they transferred it from the control of Liai- 
son Section, where it had been since 5 June, 
to that of NATOUSA. The move was a 
logical one considering that the commitment 
to rearm the French was almost entirely 
American. As technical training was in- 
separable from re-equipping, AFHQ also 
decided to place General Kingman's Train- 
ing Section, until then under the control of 
Fifth Army, directly under the supervision 
of the JRC. The section became known as 
French Training Section, JRC. Thus all 
activities in connection with the re-equip- 
ping and training of the North African 
forces thereafter were co-ordinated and su- 
pervised by a single agency, the JRC* 

AFHQ then proceeded to give the com- 
mittee more prestige and authority by ap- 
pointing a general officer, General Spald- 
ing, as its chairman. Similarly impressed 
by the need for higher-ranking representa- 
tion, the French military authorities ap- 
pointed a field-grade officer, Col. Jean 
Regnault, to head the French Section of 
the committee. This action on their part 
indicated clearly that they had come to 
regard the committee and not the Bethouart 

5 Ltr, Marshall to Eisenhower, 1 7 Jul 43, AFHQ 
0100/4 SACS Red Sec, Fr Matters. 

"NATOUSA Staff Memo 74, 7 Aug 43, JRC 
320/001 Orgn of JRC. 



PHASE III OF THE PROGRAM 



93 



mission in Washington as the authoritative 
agency in matters of rearmament. A few 
weeks later AFHQ established a separate 
Joint Air Commission (JAC) which it 
placed under the control of the Mediter- 
ranean Air Command. This commission, 
composed of U.S., British, and French 
members, was made responsible for han- 
dling strictly air armament matters. Prob- 
lems concerning equipment common to 
both air and ground units remained the 
responsibility of the JRC. The closest liai- 
son was established between the two 
agencies for the discussion of questions that 
involved their joint attention. 7 

In Washington, meanwhile, the Joint 
War Plans Committee (JWPC) had con- 
cluded a study of the rearmament problem. 
Its final report, dated 26 July, pointed out 
that the CCS decision of 18 May to arm the 
French was merely the "reaffirmation of an 
indefinite commitment" which avoided the 
most important issues. 8 In particular, the 
decision had set no target date, and had 
given no indication whatsoever as to when 
the rearmed forces could or would be used 
in combat. The committee felt that for 
political as well as military reasons, these 
issues could no longer be avoided. It was 
urgent that the commitment to arm the 
French be carried out and that United Na- 
tions strategy be "designed so as to permit 
taking full advantage of the potential com- 

'NATOUSA GO 74, 7 Aug 43, JRC 320/001 
Orgn of JRC; MAC Hq GO 9, 6 Sep 43, in The 
History of MAAF: December 1943-1 September 
1944, Vol. II, AAF Hist Office Archives; see Ch. 
IXVIII below. 

* "The re-arming and re-equipping of the French 
forces in North Africa should be proceeded with 
as rapidly as the availability of shipping and 
equipment will allow, but as a secondary commit- 
ment to the requirements of British and U.S. forces 
in the various theaters." Min, CCS 87th Mtg, 18 
May 43 ; see |p, 57"^ above. 




GENERAL ALPHONSE JUIN, acting 
French commander in chief. 



bat power of a re-equipped French army in 
the Mediterranean." 9 

Endorsing the conclusions of the JWPC 
report, General Marshall, at the next CCS 
meeting on 30 July, urged that French re- 
armament be continued, especially now that 
the shipping situation had improved. Re- 
sorting again to the familiar argument that 
such rearmament would provide over-all 
economy in the exploitation of Allied re- 
sources, he recommended that a more de- 
termined effort be made to bring the North 
African forces into action. So far, he ex- 
plained, nothing further had been done in 
this connection than to plan for their em- 
ployment in an operation against Corsica. 10 

The conquest of Corsica had, indeed, 
been assigned to the French and was sched- 

°JPS 231, 26 Jul 43, OPD CS 381 File 2. 
"Min, CCS 104th Mtg, 30 Jul 43. 



94 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



uled to take place at some later date when 
the current operations in Sicily came to a 
successful end. 11 But on 21 July, G— 3, 
AFHQ, also had strongly urged that other 
North African forces, possibly one or two 
divisions if available, be employed in the 
planned invasion of the Italian mainland. 
G— 3 stressed the advantageous psychologi- 
cal effect which the use of French troops 
was likely to have on the Italians. Three 
days later Eisenhower asked General Juin, 
acting French Commander in Chief in the 
absence of Giraud, then in Washington, to 
consider the employment on the Italian 
mainland, with the U.S. Fifth Army, of 
French units available over and above those 
scheduled to take part in the assault on 
Corsica. On 29 July General Smith re- 
quested General Juin to indicate how many 
such units could be embarked and when. 
The further employment of the North 
African expeditionary forces, therefore, was 
actually under serious consideration, and 
energetic plans were being made to bring 
them into action as speedily as possible. 12 
General Eisenhower's recommendations 
for the completion of the rearmament pro- 
gram reached Washington on 12 August. 
They embodied a detailed plan — concurred 
in by General Giraud himself — drawn on 
the basis of an army of four corps (three 
infantry and one armored) consisting of 
seven infantry and four armored divisions, 
the ratio just approved by AFHQ. 13 Al- 
ready a total of four infantry and two 

11 Participating in the Sicilian campaign was one 
battalion of goumiers (the 4th Moroccan Tabor), 
the only French ground unit then engaged in battle 
anywhere. Its equipment was largely of French 
origin, with a sprinkling of U.S. materiel. 

12 Memo, Rooks for Smith, 21 Jul 43, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Opns in Italy, Pt. II; 
Ltrs, Smith to Juin, 24, 29 Jul 43, AFHQ 0100/ 
12C G-3 Di y Ops F r Gorres. 

13 See pp. 18 7-8 8 J above. 



armored divisions, as well as two corps 
headquarters had been equipped. The ob- 
ject of the plan therefore was to obtain the 
materiel for the rest of the program. Under 
the plan, which became known as the 15 
August Plan, this materiel was to be shipped 
in four installments as follows : one infantry 
division, one armored division (minus cer- 
tain elements already outfitted), and one 
army corps headquarters in September; one 
infantry division in October; one infantry 
division and one army corps headquarters 
in November; one armored division in De- 
cember. Each slice was to include the 
materiel to equip all the necessary support- 
ing combat and service units. Shipments 
were to be made to Casablanca, now an 
entirely French base. The total tonnage 
required for initial equipment, plus main- 
tenance of major items and assemblies, was 
estimated at approximately 180,000 tons 
for September, and 150,000 tons monthly 
thereafter. Air and naval requirements, as 
well as rations and ammunition, would not 
come within this tonnage but would be 
shipped under the 25,000-ton monthly 
allocation. 14 

Anticipating early approval by the CCS, 
the JRC promptly forwarded to the War 
Department the priority lists of materiel for 
the September slice. 10 The lists differed 
somewhat from those submitted earlier by 
the French, especially as to service units. 
After some discussion with various AFHQ 
sections, the JRC had made some changes 
which the French were now reluctant to 
accept. The proposed distribution of 
maintenance units, they objected, no longer 
corresponded to theirs. Because of a critical 



"Msg W-7177, Eisenhower to Marshall, 12 Aug 
43, JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan. 

ls Msg 7274, AFHQ to AGWAR, 13 Aug 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 



PHASE III OF THE PROGRAM 



95 



shortage of technical personnel, they could 
not, they asserted, commit themselves to 
follow the proportion as now set up by the 
JRC for the various maintenance com- 
panies within the divisions. Perhaps at a 
later date, if it proved possible to enlarge 
the flow of selected men from the Continent, 
the proposed adjustments might become 
feasible. 18 

The reluctance of the French High 
Command to accept the increase in service 
units as proposed by the JRC raised an 
important issue. Just who would support 
the rearmed divisions in combat? The 
French themselves, or the Allies? The mat- 
ter had until then been given little attention. 
Within a few short weeks, it would become 
the subject of heated debate and a source 
of considerable friction between the French 
High Command and AFHQ. 

On 16 August General Somervell an- 
nounced from Washington that the 15 Au- 
gust Plan could in general be met. A large 
part of the necessary equipment would soon 
become available in the theater as a result 
of the expected departure from North 
Africa of four U.S. divisions. In pursuance 
of a CCS decision taken in May, these units 
were shortly to be moved to the United 
Kingdom to provide a core of battle-tried 
troops for the cross-Channel operation then 
under consideration. Their organizational 
equipment would be transferred and cred- 
ited to the French program. This would 
result in a corresponding reduction of the 
allocation of materiel from the United 
States and, by the same token, in a con- 
siderable reduction of shipping tonnage 
requirements. Pending a CCS decision on 
the plan, General Somervell requested his 

"Memo, Col Blanc for Chief Fr Sec JRC, 19 
Aug 43, and Memo, Theater Comdr for AGWAR, 
18 Aug 43, JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan. 



services to compute at once the items re- 
quired from the United States and make 
preliminary arrangements for their ship- 
ment. 17 

General Eisenhower's recommendations 
regarding the 15 August Plan had reached 
Washington just as the Joint Staff Planners 
were completing a report entitled Equip- 
ping Allies, Liberated Forces, and Friendly 
Neutrals. Incorporating his proposal in 
their paper, they recommended that sup- 
plies and equipment necessary to imple- 
ment the plan be authorized for shipment 
during the period 1 September to 31 De- 
cember 1943. They urged, however, that 
the over-all program itself be limited to the 
obligations of the Casablanca Conference, 
or seven infantry and four armored divisions 
as now approved by AFHQ. 18 

To avoid any delay, the U.S. Joint Chiefs 
of Staff on 18 August submitted the JPS 
report directly to the CCS, then assembled 
in Quebec for the Quadrant Conference 
( 11-24 August) . The British members of 
the committee having expressed their fear, 
as they had on similar occasions, that the 
French program might run counter to other 
commitments, the CCS, on 23 August, 
amended the American proposal by adding 
the following proviso: "in so far as this 
does not interfere with operations scheduled 
previous to Quadrant Conference." They 
then requested the War Department to take 
appropriate measures to implement the pro- 
gram. Simultaneously the CCS agreed that 
"such French forces as may be re-equipped 
and fit for war" would be used in operations 
in the Mediterranean. This decision, in 



" CCS 242/6, Final Report to the President and 
Prime Minister, 25 May 43 ; Memo, Somervell for 
Marshall, and Msg 2315, Somervell to Styer, 16 
Aug 43, Somervell Files, Fr 1943-44, A-46-257, 
Ser 1, Dr 3. 

u CCS 317, 18 Aug 43, Quadrant Conf. 



96 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



effect, merely formalized the action already 
taken in the theater to prepare a French 
expeditionary corps for service in Italy with 
the U.S. Fifth Army. 19 

Thus, nearly ten months after the landings 
in northwest Africa, the first definite, Anglo- 
American rearmament commitment, spe- 
cific as to scope and time, was finally made. 
Henceforth all interested Allied agencies as 
well as the French High Command could 
look to a clear-cut directive for guidance 
in rearming the North African Forces. 

The Quadrant Conference, it must be 
noted, had brought forth another important 
decision with respect to the French. On 
26 August the British, Canadian, and U.S. 
Governments had agreed to extend limited 
recognition to the French Committee of 
National Liberation as representing all 
Frenchmen fighting the Axis, pending the 
establishment by the liberated people of 
France of a government of their own choice. 
The CFLN therefore was recognized not 
as a government but as the body adminis- 
tering French Africa and all other terri- 
tories under its control during the war, and 
providing the official channels through 
which all French contributions to the com- 
mon war effort should be made under the 
collective responsibility of all its members. 20 
The French in North Africa received the 
announcement of this decision with "en- 
thusiasm and gratification." By 3 Septem- 
ber twenty-three other members of the 

,! ' Memo, COS for CCS, CCS 317/3, 23 Aug 43, 
Quadrant Conf ; Min, CCS 1 15th Mtg, 23 Aug 43, 
Quadrant Conf; CPS Rpt, CCS 329/2, Implemen- 
tation of Assumed Basic Undertaking and Specific 
Operations for the Conduct of the War, 1943-44, 
26 Aug 43, Quadrant Conf. 

""Memo, Col Knox, Liaison Sec, for G-3, 27 
Aug 43, AFHQ 0100/26 Liaison Sec, Rpts to G-3 
on Political Situation; see also Sherwood, Roose- 
velt and Hopkins, p. 746. 



United Nations had taken similar action. 21 
Recognition of the CFLN did not, for the 
moment at least, affect the existing rela- 
tionship between Allied military authorities 
in the theater and the French High Com- 
mand. AFHQ continued to handle arma- 
ment matters directly with the responsible 
French Army, Air, and Navy staffs or, 
when co-ordination between the latter was 
required, with General Giraud or the chief 
of his personal staff, Brig. Gen. Paul De- 
vinck. These authorities in turn obtained 
from the CFLN such sanction as was nec- 
essary. The procedure had worked well 
in the past. As pointed out by the chair- 
man of the JRC on 25 August, there was no 
reason to change it whether or not CFLN 
was recognized. 22 

Now that the CCS had approved the 
15 August Plan, the War Department took 
steps to put it in effect. General Somervell 
informed his services on 23 August that the 
organizational equipment expected to be left 
behind by the four U.S. divisions when they 
moved to the United Kingdom in November 
would be diverted to French rearmament 
within the limits of General Eisenhower's 
stated requirements and would be deducted 
from shipments to North Africa. As a re- 
sult, October, November, and December 
shipments to the French would include indi- 
vidual equipment only, such as would be 
carried by the American divisions going to 
England. To determine with accuracy the 
nature and quantities of items remaining to 
be shipped from the United States, General 
Somervell requested AFHQ to furnish with- 
out delay a detailed list of all materiel likely 

- 1 Capt. Harry C. Butcher, My Three Years With 
Eisenhower (New York: Simon and Schuster, 
1946), p. 399; Charles de Gaulle, Discours et 
Messages (Paris: Berger-Levrault, 1946), p. 348. 

Personal Ltr, Spalding to Lt Col Roger Jones, 
MAB, 25 Aug 43, JRC 472 MAB. 



PHASE III OF THE PROGRAM 



97 



to be left behind by the four American 
divisions. 23 

Meanwhile, the Munitions Assignments 
Board had approved the transfer to the 
Commanding General, NATOUSA, of the 
weapons and materiel constituting the Sep- 
tember slice. This would serve to equip a 
fifth infantry division, the units necessary 
to complete a third armored division of the 
three-battalion type, and various service 
troops. 24 

The French military authorities had long 
since activated the entire eleven divisions of 
the program, not counting the British- 
equipped 1st Motorized Infantry Division 
which they were retaining as a nonprogram 
unit. It was now reported that, in addi- 
tion, they were activating four other infan- 
try divisions, the nucleus of what they hoped 
would become a second army. 25 

On 26 August General Giraud listed for 
AFHQ the divisions to be fully rearmed 
under the 15 August Plan. For each he 
indicated an approximate date of readiness. 
The exact date, he pointed out, depended 
on the reception of the necessary materiel. 
He warned that in the case of many service 
troops, such as the maintenance units re- 
quested by AFHQ, their activation was 
bound to encounter great difficulties for 
lack of trained personnel. 2<i 

By this time the first ships carrying the 
equipment of Phase II were being unloaded 
at Casablanca. When General Giraud 
wrote to General Marshall on 27 August 
to express his gratefulness for this new evi- 

- 3 Memo, Somervell for Styer, 23 Aug 43, Somer- 
vell Files, Fr 1943-44, A-46-257, Ser 1, Dr 3; 
Msg 7783, AGWAR to AFHQ, 16 Sep 43, JRC 
903 Requests for Units. 

: " Min, MAC (G) 108th Mtg, 26 Aug 43. 
Chart, JRC, Plan for Equipment, 26 Aug 43, 
JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan. 

20 Memo, Giraud for AFHQ Planning Staff, 26 
Aug 43, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt, 



dence of American intent to rearm his 
forces, he urged that the effort be continued 
and the Anfa Plan brought to speedy com- 
pletion. The men of the remaining five di- 
visions, he explained, were "eagerly 
awaiting the materiel which had been 
promised them." He hoped that the entire 
program would be completed by the end 
of the year and he counted on the U.S. 
Chief of Staff to make the necessary ar- 
rangements to this effect. "America will 
not regret it," he asserted in conclusion. In 
his reply, General Marshall assured the 
French Commander in Chief that "every 
practicable effort" would continue to be 
made to complete the program. 27 

It must be noted in passing that no less 
than six weeks elapsed between Giraud's 
letter and Marshall's answer. Records 
show that at least three drafts were succes- 
sively prepared by the Operations Division 
for the Chief of Staff's signature. The 
first stated that the present goal was to com- 
plete the eleven-division program "by the 
end of the year." The second, somewhat 
shorter, asserted that the program would be 
completed "according to schedule." The 
final draft contained no such assurances. 
Only an examination of the turbulent 
French political situation during these six 
weeks can provide a clue to the delay and 
the noncommittal wording of General Mar- 
shall's answer. 

French Political Situation Threatens 
Program 

Just as the implementation of Phase III 
was about to begin, a recurrence of French 
political strife in North Africa created a 

Ltrs, Giraud to Marshall, 27 Aug 43, Marshall 
to Giraud, 8 Oct 43, OPD 400 France, Sec II. 



98 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



situation which threatened to put an end 
to the rearmament program. 

Immediately after the limited recogni- 
tion of the CFLN on 26 August, climaxing 
a month of truce during which the fusion of 
all French armed forces had become a 
reality, General de Gaulle and his followers 
raised a new issue : the committee's control 
over French military affairs. In particular 
they questioned once more General 
Giraud's remaining authority. The French 
Commander in Chief had seemingly re- 
signed himself to the fact that he must soon 
relinquish his post of copresident of CFLN 
in view of the failure of the two-headed 
arrangement. He insisted, however, that, 
by virtue of his recognition by the Allies in 
November 1 942 as the supreme French mili- 
tary commander, he alone had the author- 
ity to speak for the French forces. It was 
his firm belief that the armament furnished 
by the United States had been given to him 
in his personal capacity. General de Gaulle 
and his supporters, on the other hand, were 
equally insistent that the powers then exer- 
cised by General Giraud, except as they 
confined themselves to the control of ex- 
peditionary forces, should revert to the 
responsible civil authority, namely, the 
CFLN. In the words of Mr. Murphy, the 
American political representative in the 
theater, the controversy had "reached a 
point where it was threatening the prosecu- 
tion of the war." 28 

Apprised of the situation, President 
Roosevelt was tempted at first to order the 
immediate stoppage of all shipments of 
equipment and munitions to the French. 
On second thought he realized it was not 
necessary to force a showdown. It would 

28 Msg, Murphy to State Dept, 3 Sep 43, OPD 
400 France, Sec II. 



come anyway and probably soon. He di- 
rected General Marshall to keep in close 
touch with the situation. 29 

In early October the CFLN reorganized 
itself, eliminated the two-head arrangement, 
and elected General de Gaulle as its sole 
president. General Giraud was thus re- 
moved from the political sphere. That 
accomplished, the CFLN established a 
National Defense Committee, placed the 
Commander in Chief directly under the 
Commissioner of National Defense, and 
assigned him command of such forces as 
it made available to him for military oper- 
ations. As a member ex officio of the Na- 
tional Defense Committee, the Commander 
in Chief was to share with the president of 
the CFLN and the Commissioner of Na- 
tional Defense the task of administering and 
maintaining the armed forces. 30 Although 
these measures went a long way toward 
stripping General Giraud of effective con- 
trol over the French Army, he retained for 
the moment the title of Commander in 
Chief. AFHQ officials therefore decided 
that they would continue to deal directly 
and only with him regarding rearmament 
and other military matters. Yet it was clear 
that he no longer could make decisions that 
were final and that agreements reached with 
him would be subject to approval or rejec- 
tion by other French authorities. General 
Marshall's reluctance, as evidenced in his 
letter of 8 October, to make a firm commit- 
ment on the completion of the program 
clearly reflected the trend of the situation 

:!> Memo, President for Marshall, 13 Oct 43, OPD 
400 France, Sec II. 

'■" Decree on Reorganization of CFLN and Decree 
Establishing a National Defense Committee, text 
of both documents in Giraud, Un seul but, la Vic- 
tohe, pp. 262-64. 



PHASE III OF THE PROGRAM 



99 



Implementing Phase III 

Two problems of materiel faced the 
French military authorities during Phase III 
and, for that matter, long afterward. The 
first, to which the JRC had briefly referred 
in its report of 2 August, concerned short- 
ages of items in the hands of units whose 
re-equipping was supposed to have been 
completed. The International Division, 
ASF, had already made a study of it. The 
MAB likewise had looked into it after 
learning that the French were requisitioning 
for supplies which had been assigned and 
delivered to them. 31 

As explained by General Spalding, chair- 
man of the JRC, on 25 August, shortages 
existed largely because the French military 
authorities had distributed among several 
different units materiel originally assigned 
for some particular organization. They had 
done so because of training demands, 
changes in priority of equipping, transpor- 
tation difficulties, and various other emer- 
gencies. It was up to the French to re- 
shuffle in due time the equipment available 
to them and to turn it over to the units for 
which assignments had been made. Where 
shortages existed because materiel had not 
been assigned or shipped from the United 
States, it was urgent that the missing items 
be sent to North Africa without delay/ 12 

The JRC attempted with the help of its 
French Training Section to determine the 
extent of shortages by conducting show- 
down inspections of French units. Simi- 
larly, the International Division in 

"Memo, International Div ASF, sub: Summary 
of Status of Equip of Fr Rearmt by Units as of 
1 Aug 43, JRC 475 MAB; Personal Ltr 4, Col 
Jones, MAB, to Gen Spalding, 13 Aug 43, JRC 
472 MAB. 

'"' Personal Ltr, Spalding to Jones, MAB, 25 
Aug 43, JRC 472 MAB. 



Washington began making a check of all 
shortages in shipments made against Phases 
I and II. But this check did not take into 
consideration losses at sea as well as losses, 
breakage, or diversion on and after arrival 
in North Africa. 33 

The second problem facing the French 
was lack of spare parts. In mid-August 
they reported that they were dangerously 
short of such items, especially parts for 
combat vehicles; a large proportion of these, 
as a result, was reported to be currently 
deadlined. In answer to repeated appeals 
from AFHQ, the War Department ar- 
ranged to have some 11,000 tons of spare 
parts assigned as part of the September 
slice of Phase III. 34 

On 19 September AFHQ officials in- 
formed the War Department that to main- 
tain properly their American equipment the 
French needed considerable numbers of 
major assemblies for replacement and ex- 
change purposes. They pointed out that 
the one-month supply included in original 
shipments of materiel was inadequate. 
They requested that automatic monthly 
shipments of major assemblies be made for 
all shipments of organizational equipment, 
beginning at once and continuing until such 
time as the French themselves would be in 
a position to make monthly requisitions. 30 

By then, Army Service Forces had made 
available for shipment to North Africa prac- 
tically all the equipment, including spare 
parts, requested by the theater as part of 

31 Memo, Spalding for ACofS G-4, 18 Aug 43, 
JRC 400.0/009 Sup of Combat Units; Ltr 5, Col 
Jones, MAB, to Spalding, 27 Aug 43, JRC 472 
MAB. 

3 ' Msg W-7322, AFHQ to AGWAR, 14 Aug 43, 
and Msg W-8081, 23 Aug 43, JRC Cable Log; 
Msg 7177, Somervell to AFHQ, 7 Sep 43, JRC 
903 Requests for Units. 

"Msg W-465, AFHQ to AGWAR, 19 Sep 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 



100 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



the September slice, with the exception of 
certain ordnance and signal items then un- 
available in the United States. 36 The total 
amounted to 143,000 tons. Of these, 120,- 
000 tons were to be shipped in September, 
5,000 tons in October, and the remainder 
after October. Tools and equipment for 
base maintenance shops requested by the 
theater would be shipped to the extent of 
4,000 tons per month under the 25,000-ton 
monthly allocation. 37 

The sudden arrival, at the end of Septem- 
ber, of the large shipment of maintenance 
equipment created a new and unexpected 
situation: the French were reported to be 
unable to handle the avalanche of spare 
parts presently reaching Casablanca. Cases 
of equipment were being unloaded by the 
thousands. Lacking adequate material 
means, facilities, and personnel, the French 
Supply Services simply could not segregate, 
inventory, and make ready for issue the in- 
numerable items of equipment reaching 
them. Where indeed could they have found 
the 60,000-odd storage bins necessary for 
this huge operation? All they could do was 
to remove wrappings in great haste and dis- 
tribute sets of spare parts immediately, often 
right out in the open. "To the great in- 
dignation of the Americans," the precious 
materiel was sometimes lost or damaged. 38 

Aware of this serious situation, the chief 
Ordnance officer in the theater, Col. David 

M M5A1 tanks could be sent to the French only 
at the expense of U.S. troops overseas. Accord- 
ingly, M3A3 tanks were being substituted, pending 
availability of M5A1, for French rearmament as 
well as for some U.S. troops. Msg 5460, Somer- 
vell to Eisenhower, 20 Aug 43, JRC Cable Log. 

3T Msg 7177, Somervell to AFHQ, 7 Sep 43, JRC 
903 Requests for Units; Msg 6005, Somervell to 
Eisenhower, 26 Aug 43, JRC Cable Log. 

38 Marey, "Le Rearmement frangais en Afrique 
du Nord (1942-1944)," Revue Politique et Par- 
lementaire (October, 1947), p. 57. 



J. Crawford, recommended on 29 Septem- 
ber that prompt action be taken to hold up 
further shipments of parts in all cases in 
which a large portion of the first six-month 
quota had been received. He also urged 
that the JRC and the French Supply Serv- 
ices bend all efforts toward the speedy es- 
tablishment of an organization responsible 
for attending to the needs of the French 
Army for spare parts. He urged further 
that special attention be given to the devel- 
opment and prosecution of a plan for the 
supply of the expeditionary forces due to 
be sent to Italy. In this connection he 
regarded as essential the "immediate mobili- 
zation" of the supplies necessary for these 
forces by segregating and binning the items 
at strategically located depots, and the 
establishment of proper procedures of issue 
and replenishment by requisitions. Finally, 
he recommended that replenishment of 
parts be effected, not by automatic supply 
likely to result in wasteful accumulation, 
but by requisition, and then only after the 
establishment of an initial stockage at what 
was considered to be a satisfactory level for 
the troops involved. In line with these 
recommendations, the JRC requested the 
War Department to cancel the second 
6-month automatic shipment of spare parts 
but to continue the initial 6-month ship- 
ment. The committee then proposed the 
establishment of a 45-day reserve and a 
30-day operating level of Class II and IV 
supplies. The French had been instructed, 
and were already organizing, to requisition 
each month all supplies by item. 39 

' 19 Memo, Col David J. Crawford for G-4 AFHQ, 
29 Sep 43, JRC 402 Sup Policy; Msg 1852/3931, 
JRC to AGWAR, 6 Oct 43, JRC Cable Log. Class 
II covers supplies and equipment, such as cloth- 
ing and weapons, for which allowances are estab- 
lished by tables of equipment or allowances; Class 
IV covers supplies and equipment, such as con- 



PHASE III OF THE PROGRAM 



101 



Before taking action on the matter, the 
War Department reviewed for the benefit 
of AFHQ the status of spare parts and ma- 
jor assemblies as seen from Washington in 
the light of past shipments. 4 " AFHQ did 
not concur in the facts as given by the War 
Department. As a result a long exchange 
of correspondence followed which lasted 
several months and was marked with con- 
siderable confusion due largely, it seems, to 
the different terminology used at both ends. 

The ceaseless flow of U.S. equipment into 
French hands and the readying of units for 
service in Italy brought the question of 
technical training to the fore as a preoccu- 
pation of theater officials. To increase the 
scope and efficiency of the program offered 
by General Kingman's French Training 
Section, General Eisenhower in mid-August 
had requested the War Department to send 
to North Africa 385 additional highly qual- 
ified U.S. instructors, including 25 officers. 
The request had been granted and the men 
were to be dispatched to North Africa at 
the end of September. 41 

Meanwhile, the first major engagement 
of French forces in operations outside north- 
west Africa, one to which General Marshall 
had briefly referred in his statement before 
the CCS on 30 July, was taking place. 
Operation Vesuvius, the liberation of 
Corsica, planned and directed by General 
Giraud under the over-all supervision of 
AFHQ, had begun on 13 September at a 
time when Corsican patriots were already 
battling the 10,000-odd German troops cn- 

struction and fortifications materials for which al- 
lowances art' not prescribed. The others arc: Class 
I, rations; Class III, POL (petrol, oil, and lubri- 
cants) ; Class V, ammunition. 

40 Msg 831, AGWAR to AFHQ, 25 Oct 43, JRC 
Cable Log. 

"Msg W-7177, Eisenhower to Marshall, 12 Aug 
43, JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan; Msg 8547, Marshall 
to Eisenhower, 24 Sep 43, JRC Cable Log. 



trenched on the island. Except for one 
U.S. Ranger unit and, during the last week 
of operations, elements of an Italian Army 
corps, the participating forces— naval, air, 
and ground — were French. The ground 
force, commanded by Lt. Gen. Henry Mar- 
tin and numbering some 15,000 men, in- 
cluded units of the 4th Moroccan Mountain 
Division, a regiment of goumiers (the 2d 
Moroccan Tabor Group, or 2d GTM), the 
Shock Battalion, plus antiaircraft artillery, 
engineers, and other supporting troops. 
The 2d GTM and Shock Battalion, not part 
of the eleven-division program, were 
equipped with a mixture of French, Amer- 
ican, and other materiel. 42 The invading 
troops, unopposed at first, soon met with 
stiff resistance as the enemy, suddenly de- 
ciding to evacuate the island (as well as 
neighboring Sardinia), fought a series of 
rear guard actions to protect his movement 
toward northeastern ports. Pressing hard 
on the retreating columns, General Martin, 
on 30 September, launched a general attack 
which ended on 4 October with the com- 
plete liberation of the island. 43 His forces 
had suffered some 500 casualties including 
100 killed in action. 

As the implementation of the first slice 
of Phase III was coming to an end, Allied 
military authorities turned their attention to 
the second, or October, slice. On 7 October 
the Munitions Assignments Committee 
(Ground) approved the assignment of sig- 
nal and individual equipment (less clothing 
already assigned and rifles, carbines, and pis- 
tols to be obtained from the United King- 
dom) for a sixth infantry division and 
twenty-two supporting units, and of all the 

'"Nonprogram units are treated in pp. 111-13, 
158-60, below. 

*' J. Joubert, La Liberation de la France (Paris: 
Payot, 1951) pp. 90-94. 




GOUMIERS OF THE 9TH COLONIAL INFANTRY DIVISION boarding 
landing craft at Corsica for the invasion of Elba. 



PHASE III OF THE PROGRAM 



103 



materiel required to outfit units which were 
not the same as, or comparable to, the U.S. 
organizations scheduled to move from North 
Africa to England. The rest of the materiel 
necessary to equip fully the division and its 
supporting arms and services was to be pro- 
vided by the theater from the equipment to 
be made surplus as a result of the departure 
from North Africa of similar U.S. units. 44 
Another question came up for discussion 
during the same period. It concerned the 
manner in which French forces were to be 
maintained. In answer to a query from 
the JRC, the War Department replied on 
26 October that NATOUSA was author- 
ized to maintain garrison-trained units on 
a zone of interior maintenance basis, and 
units ready and designated for combat 
service on a combat maintenance basis. 
The maintenance of all other forces was of 
course the responsibility of the French High 
Command. Troops certified and desig- 
nated for combat service in the theater were 
authorized the theater level in all classes of 
supply except Glass I (rations). 45 The 

" Min, MAC (G) 114th Mtg, 7 Oct 43: see 
also Memo, Col George Olmstead for Chmn MAC 
(G), 4 Oct 43, JRC 472 MAB, Msg W-1282, 
AFHQ to AGWAR, 29 Sep 43, JRC 903 Requests 
for Units. 

13 Msg 859, Marshall to Eisenhower, 26 Oct 43, 



issue of maintenance items from U.S. thea- 
ter stocks was to be made in accordance 
with existing War Department regulations. 
These stipulated that, except in case of an 
emergency, the authority to transfer supplies 
and equipment to foreign governments must 
be obtained from the MAB. Lend-lease 
requirements of foreign governments could 
not be requisitioned through Army supply 
channels but must be submitted through 
normal lend-lease channels. 415 

Near the end of October War Depart- 
ment officials began planning for the third, 
or November, slice of the 15 August Plan. 
As they prepared to submit the necessary 
requisitions to the MAC (G), they re- 
quested the theater to forward pertinent 
information on the amount of equipment 
expected to become available as a result of 
the departure of further U.S. units from 
North Africa. 47 At this point, however, im- 
portant developments in the theater, long 
present but increasingly troublesome, had 
created a situation which forced a suspen- 
sion of the 15 August Plan and led to a 
complete re-examination of the program. 

JRC Cable Log. 

Jli WD Cir 220, 20 Sep 43. 

ST Msg 1165, AGWAR to Eisenhower, 29 Oct 43, 
JRC 903 Requests for Units. 



CHAPTER VII 



The Program Marks Time 

(November 1943-February 1944) 

I 



"La Bataille des Services" 

Nothing, it will be recalled, had been said 
in agreements and CCS directives regarding 
the manner in which support of the French 
forces was to be provided. The Anfa 
Agreement had been interpreted to mean 
the rearmament of eleven divisions plus 
auxiliary troops, without any clear defini- 
tion of the number and nature of such 
auxiliary troops. In equipping the first ex- 
peditionary corps, the Joint Rearmament 
Committee had endeavored to make of it 
a coherent force capable of operating inde- 
pendently. With the much larger ground 
and air force being outfitted for combat, the 
problem of support was assuming vast pro- 
portions. The 15 August Plan merely 
aimed at equipping the three infantry and 
two armored divisions remaining on the 
Anfa program. It made no provision for 
army and corps artillery, antiaircraft, and 
service units; nor did it provide for base 
units, depots, service installations, repair 
shops, hospitals, and the like. How, then, 
were the rearmed divisions and air squad- 
rons to be supported in combat? Where 
would the support come from? 

Just before General Spalding's assump- 
tion of office as chairman of the JRC, his 
predecessor, Lt. Col. George L. Artamo- 
noff, warned that the French lacked the 



technicians, even semitechnicians, necessary 
to organize all the service troops required 
for a modern eleven-division army. He 
proposed, much as he had done several 
months earlier, that if maximum use was 
to be made of the "excellent source of fight- 
ing manpower" that was the French Army 
it should be backed by U.S. Ordnance units. 
The number of such units would depend 
upon the number of similar units that the 
French themselves could not activate from 
their own resources. 1 

Colonel Artamonoff's proposal had no 
chance of being translated into action. The 
possibility of placing U.S. service troops in 
support of the French had just been ruled 
out by General Eisenhower himself for the 
simple reason that his own American forces 
were short of such troops. Already General 
Marshall had explained to General Giraud, 
during their July conversations in Wash- 
ington, the dilemma then facing the War 
Department in meeting General Eisen- 
hower's requisitions for service units. He 
had pointed out that the Allied Commander 
in Chief had been urged to secure French 
service troops as these would be required to 
round out French army corps organization. 

1 Memos, ArtamonofF for Delaney, 3 Mar 43, 
and for Gen Adcock, 2 Aug 43, JRC Misc Doc, 
Item 5-a, Tabs I, T. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: I 



105 



General Giraud had made no comment on 
that point at the time. 2 

On 3 1 July Eisenhower made it clear that, 
as he interpreted the Anfa Agreement, 
French service organizations would be re- 
quired. Their number, he indicated, was 
to be decided by negotiation between the 
proper French military authorities, the 
JRC, and G-3, AFHQ. In line with this 
decision, the deputy theater commander, 
General Hughes, promptly informed Gen- 
eral Spalding that in the build-up of the 
French Army, adequate provision must be 
made for complete service organizations 
and installations. U.S. base sections, he 
pointed out, were currently being taxed to 
the maximum to provide mobile service 
units for U.S. fighting forces; the remain- 
ing service troops still had the responsibility 
of receiving shipments from the United 
States as well as preparing, transporting, 
and loading supplies from North African 
ports to advance elements of American com- 
bat forces. It was imperative, then, that the 
French be required to plan for the huge 
task of supplying such of their forces as 
would take part in overseas operations. 3 

There could no longer be any doubt that 
the French were under obligation to pro- 
vide, from their own manpower resources, 
the units necessary to support adequately 
their combat forces. Yet, in their eyes, 
the issue was far from settled. A heated 
debate soon arose between the French High 
Command and AFHQ. The bitter con- 
test was to last to the end of the war. 

The feud began in earnest when General 
Lever, on 16 September, informed the JRC 



2 Memo, Marshall for Somervell, 12 Jul 43, 
WDCSA 400 France. 

1 Memo, CinC for Chief Liaison Sec AFHQ, 31 
Jul 43, JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan; Memo, Hughes 
for Spalding, 5 Aug 43, JRC 370/003 Employ- 
ment of Sv Units. 



that the proposal to add supporting units 
to the 15 August Plan was unacceptable. 
French military authorities, he explained, 
had been led, by "pressing considerations 
of a moral, psychological, and political na- 
ture, more than military," to set a relatively 
high figure for divisions at the expense of 
nondivisional combat and service units. 
The JRC proposal, he agreed, was a rea- 
sonable one, but the increase which it ad- 
vocated simply was out of question. Even 
as it stood, the 1 5 August Plan represented 
a maximum which could be reached only 
with considerable difficulties. As for modi- 
fying it by lowering the number of divisions 
in order to activate more service units, 
the French High Command "flatly rejected 
the idea." The present program, concluded 
General Leyer, should stand until the liber- 
ation of continental France, either in part 
or in whole, provided additional manpower. 
Until then, it was adequate to enable the 
French Army to play the role likely to be 
assigned to it "within the framework of the 
Allied armies and with their assistance." 4 
The last part of General Leyer's letter 
was a clear indication that the French mili- 
tary authorities still entertained hopes of 
receiving outside assistance in the form of 
U.S. or British service units. That they also 
considered the August Plan in its original 
form as thoroughly adequate was evidenced 
by the content of a memorandum from the 
National Defense Committee dated 18 Sep- 
tember. Signed by both Generals de Gaulle 
and Giraud, and addressed to General Mar- 
shall and to the heads of the American, 
British, and Russian Governments, the com- 
munication stressed the committee's inten- 
tion to carry out "in as complete a manner 

J Ltr, Leyer to Spalding, 16 Sep 43, JRC 902/11 
Rearmt Plan. 



106 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



as possible" the program as initially estab- 
lished. In support of this intention, the 
committee pointed out that the total num- 
ber of effectives soon to be available was 
estimated at approximately 500,000 men. 
Significantly, it was silent on the question 
of service units.* 

Just what "pressing moral, psychologi- 
cal, and political considerations" motivated 
French resistance to Allied demands for a 
self-sustaining French Military Establish- 
ment, General Leyer's letter had not stated. 
But the reasons had long been clear to 
AFHQ. The French wanted above all a 
maximum of combat forces as a means of 
redeeming French honor on the battlefield 
and restoring France to its former position 
as a great nation. The same desire had 
prompted thousands of men, and was in- 
ducing still more, to escape from the mother 
country, often at considerable personal risk, 
for service with the overseas forces. To 
them and to most white elements already in 
North Africa, the idea of serving in admin- 
istrative, labor, maintenance, or other serv- 
ice units was repugnant. Their reluctance 
to pick up the shovel instead of the rifle 
greatly hampered the organizing of service 
troops. The white manpower reserve was 
small to start with, and the native element, 
although numerous, in general made poor 
technical personnel. Faced with a dearth 
of men capable of manning highly special- 
ized units, the French High Command rea- 
soned thus: the Allies had the know-how, 
the technical skills, and a vast manpower 
reserve; it was up to them, the Americans 
in particular, to provide the necessary sup- 
port and thus make it possible for eleven 
good combat divisions to get into the firing 
line as speedily as possible. The French 

5 Ltr and Memo, de Gaulle and Giraud to Mar- 
shall, 18 Sep 43, CCS 358/3. 



could cite as precedent for their position the 
fact that the U.S. divisions engaged in com- 
bat in World War I were backed largely 
by French supporting units. 6 The proce- 
dure, adopted then as an expedient to hasten 
the entry of American troops in battle, had 
worked well. Why couldn't the practice be 
repeated at least until such time as the lib- 
eration of France provided additional 
technical manpower? 

There were other reasons for the attitude 
of the French High Command regarding 
supporting troops. In the judgment of 
Allied observers, a judgment corroborated 
after the war by French officers, General 
Giraud and much of his staff lacked tech- 
nical knowledge and as a result failed to 
appreciate the importance of adequate sup- 
port. Their thinking had not progressed 
beyond the prewar concept. They suffered 
from the same incomprehension that had 
been one of the causes of the French Army's 
downfall in 1940. The JRC could point to 
the fact that whenever the French General 
Staff submitted requisitions they invariably 
gave last priority to the equipping of serv- 
ice units. The same lack of understanding, 
it must be noted, persisted long after Gen- 
eral Giraud's disappearance from the mili- 
tary scene. The French, consequently, 
never became fully self-sufficient even when 
fighting on French soil, and the U.S. Army, 
in the long run, had no other choice but to 
provide a large part of the necessary sup- 
port. 7 

The publication in mid-September 1943 
by the French military authorities of a chart 
giving the contemplated dates of complete 
activation of the principal service units 

6 See Ipp. 3-5| above. 

7 Intervs with Col Artamonoff, Dec 49, Col Gar- 
diner, Apr 50, Brig Gen Harold F. Loomis, Jun 
and Jul 50, and Lt Gen Jean Valluy, Jun 55. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: I 



107 



clearly emphasized their inability, or reluc- 
tance, to fulfill their obligations in the mat- 
ter. According to the chart, no more than 
a nucleus of personnel for any Engineer unit 
was to be organized before 1 January 1944. 
The only Engineer depot company planned 
for the entire French Army was not to be ac- 
tivated until December and then in cadre 
only. Except for the three Ordnance depot 
companies about to be equipped from U.S. 
materiel already at hand, no other Ordnance 
units were planned for the remaining 
months of 1943. General Kingman feared 
that, as a result, the entire load of heavier 
maintenance and repair for all units of the 
French Army — except the expeditionary 
corps — would be thrown on U.S. Ordnance 
troops. The same held true of transport, 
gasoline supply, and base depot services, 
for which few or no units were contemplated 
in the near future. 8 

AFHQ officials decided to appeal directly 
to General Giraud. On 9 October General 
Whiteley, deputy chief of staff, pointed out 
to the French Commander in Chief that, 
while the strength and balance of the ex- 
peditionary forces in terms of combat units 
appeared satisfactory, deficiencies in com- 
munications and service troops would con- 
stitute a grave weakness in a period of of- 
fensive operations. Certain adjustments 
and additions, he asserted, were necessary 
to provide a more balanced force and ulti- 
mately increase its effectiveness. Repeating 
the warning that resources presently avail- 
able to the American forces precluded the 
possibility of filling existing gaps with U.S. 
units, General Whiteley urged General 
Giraud to make every effort to provide the 
required units from French manpower. 9 

8 Memo, Kingman for Spalding, 23 Sep 43, JRC 
370/003 Employment of Sv Units. 

9 Ltr, Whiteley to Giraud, 9 Oct 43, JRC 370/003 
Employment of Sv Units. 



General Giraud did not reply for more 
than two weeks. Meanwhile AFHQ put 
forward a number of solutions. General 
Smith, then in Washington, recommended 
scaling down the rearmament program to 
perhaps eight divisions. 10 Brig. Gen. Har- 
old F, Loomis, who on 10 October took over 
the chairmanship of the JRC in replace- 
ment of General Spalding, called to other 
duties, proposed holding up deliveries of 
equipment for combat troops until the 
French activated the required number of 
service units. He believed that, despite ad- 
mitted difficulties, the service units could be 
formed without delay. If trained man- 
power was not available, then French 
personnel could be attached to U.S. or- 
ganizations for instruction. Plans had 
already been discussed between the JRC, 
NATOUSA Services of Supply, and the 
French High Command for training a num- 
ber of French service units by giving them 
temporary employment with U.S. bases. 11 

General Loomis was convinced that the 
time had come to force the French military 
authorities to adopt "a sound program, not 
just a program." NATOUSA, however, 
considered that to hold up further deliveries, 
as he recommended, was premature and, at 
any rate, should be delayed until General 
Giraud had replied to General Whiteley's 
letter of 9 October. 12 

When General Giraud's letter came, on 
26 October, it contained nothing at all on 
the subject of service troops. Instead it sug- 
gested an expansion of the whole program 

"'Memo, Handy for CofS, 18 Oct 43, OPD 400 
France, Sec II. 

" Memos, Loomis for CofS AFHQ, 23 Oct 43, 
and Maj Gen Thomas B. Larkin for CG 
NATOUSA, 12 Sep 43, and Ltr, Lever to Loomis, 
19 Oct 43, JRC 370/003 Employment of Sv Units. 

" Interv with Loomis, Jun and Jul 50 ; Memo, 
Brig Gen E. L. Ford for Loomis, 26 Oct 43, JRC 
370/003 Employment of Sv Units. 



108 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



from eleven to twelve divisions in order to 
incorporate the 1st Motorized Infantry 
Division in the North African forces. Gen- 
eral Eisenhower's reaction was immediate 
and blunt. In a strongly worded letter, he 
first sought to shatter General Giraud's il- 
lusions that U.S. service units might be used 
in support of French combat troops. He 
ruled out such an arrangement as being 
"obviously unacceptable." He explained 
further that he would not commit French 
forces "even in Metropolitan France" un- 
less they could operate as self-sustaining 
units — if necessary at the expense of some 
of the combat units presently set up on the 
eleven-division program. Immediate ad- 
justments, he warned, must be made to the 
extent necessary to ensure that each corps, 
as it was prepared for active operations, 
would have its full complement of corps 
and army service elements on a scale com- 
parable to that recommended for the first 
expeditionary corps. 13 

Echoes of the feud over service units 
had by this time reached War Department 
officials and convinced them that the 15 
August Plan was inadequate. Before ini- 
tiating any further assignments to the 
French, they sought General Eisenhower's 
opinion. The Allied Commander in Chief 
replied that a re-examination of the re- 
armament program was under way, which 
had in view the establishment of a balanced 
army "in increments of self-sustaining army 
corps." Pending the result of this study, 
the War Department decided to hold up 
assignments on the third, or November, 
slice of the 15 August Plan. 14 

a Ltr, Giraud to Eisenhower, 26 Oct 43, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt; Ltr, Eisen- 
hower to Giraud, 2 7 Oct 43 JRC 370/ 003 Em- 
ployment of Sv Units; also see bp 88—891 above. 

''* Memo, Col Robert A. Case, Director Stock 
Control Div ASF, for Director Sup ASF, 3 Nov 



General Eisenhower's reply was the first 
intimation that AFHQ had reached a de- 
cision regarding the future tactical employ- 
ment of the North African forces. G-3 
on 3 November confirmed that French 
Army corps were to be used in increments 
as self-sustaining units operating with the 
Allied forces as soon as these corps were 
prepared to participate in operations. The 
decision was important in many respects. 
It would in particular govern all further re- 
armament operations. According to G-3's 
instructions, the French program was 
to be revised with a view to providing ( 1 ) 
in the immediate future: increments of 
self-sustaining army corps ; ( 2 ) ultimately : 
"a balanced army capable of independent 
and sustained operations and composed of 
these successive army corps increments plus 
whatever additional units were neces- 
sary." 13 With this twofold objective in 
mind, the JRC and other interested AFHQ 
staff sections undertook, once again, to de- 
termine the number and types of units to 
be added to the program. 

Simultaneously, General Loomis decided 
to have a frank talk with the French and 
inform them of the plans under considera- 
tion. Meeting with General Leyer and 
Colonel Regnault on 7 November, he out- 
lined the reasons for the sudden "sharp 
change" in the attitude of the U.S. authori- 
ties. With the program well under way, a 
clearer concept was being developed as to 
how the French Army was to be employed, 
and the wide scope of the program was 
being realized. If in recent days the French 

43, OPD 400 France, Sec II; Msg 1464, Marshall 
to Eisenhower, 2 Nov 43, JRC 904 Modification 
of Rearmt: Msg W-4199/5981, Eisenhower to 
Marshall, 3 Nov 43, JRC Cable Log; Msg 2702, 
Marshall to Eisenhower, 17 Nov 43, JRC 903 
Requests for Units. 

15 Memo, Rooks To All Concerned, 3 Nov 43, 
JRC 370/001 Employment of Units. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: I 



109 



military authorities had been required to 
"justify fully" their requirements from U.S. 
resources, it was because such requirements 
must be weighed and their need considered 
in the light of other United Nations de- 
mands. For the French alone, there were, 
in addition to the eleven-division program, 
a number of other requirements such as 
maintenance levels, maintenance of the Ter- 
ritorial forces, and POL (petrol, oil, and 
lubricants) requirements. The size of the 
Allies' global commitment was such that it 
was imperative to keep French requests 
"within minimum requirements." JS 

On 13 November General Eisenhower 
rejected General Giraud's proposal for an 
expansion of the Anfa program to twelve 
divisions. He then seized the opportunity 
to remind the French Commander in Chief 
that previous American appeals for a revi- 
sion of the 15 August Plan had been un- 
heeded, and to reiterate his warning that 
U.S. service troops would not be provided 
to support French combat units. He 
added : 

I am now convinced that you should have 
the program restudied and revised so that the 
largest possible balanced force will be re- 
armed. It must be apparent to all that there 
is nothing gained in raising divisions which, 
for lack of adequate supporting arms and 
services, we are unable to employ in combat. 
... As the revised program will be the basis 
for the supply of U.S. equipment, I naturally 
wish to approve it before it is sent to the War 
Department. 

Voicing his belief that only by effecting a 
cutback of the program would the personnel 
be found for manning the necessary sup- 
porting arms and services, General Eisen- 
hower then revealed his intentions in the 
matter. He proposed to recommend to the 

16 Notes of Conf, Loomis, Leycr, and Regnault, 
7 Nov 43, JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan. 



War Department that the equipment for 
one infantry and two armored divisions be 
eliminated from the program. It was his 
hope that the French Commander in Chief 
would signify his agreement to the proposal 
or offer any alternative thereto without 
delay. 17 

While AFHQ staff sections were revising 
the program along the lines set forth by 
G-3 on 3 November, General Eisenhower 
informed the CCS of his proposal to reduce 
the number of divisions. In anticipation of 
Giraud's reply, he urged that he be author- 
ized to determine the appropriateness of 
any solution which General Giraud might 
offer and, if necessary, to inform the latter 
that three divisions would definitely be de- 
leted from the program. Such a reduction, 
he explained, would free qualified troops 
for the organization of a balanced army 
adequately supported by the necessary 
troops and base units. 18 

The French military authorities, it was 
then learned informally, were planning to 
submit a counterproposal calling for the 
elimination of two divisions only (one in- 
fantry and one armored), with the justifi- 
cation that they could properly support in 
personnel the remaining nine. Hopes were 
high that a satisfactory agreement could 
be effected between AFHQ and General 
Giraud in the near future. 19 

On 20 November the JRC submitted 
to General Giraud a revised version (known 
thereafter as the 20 November Plan) of 
the 15 August Plan. Prepared with the 
assistance of the general and special staff 
sections of AFHQ, the new plan represented 

l; Ltr, Eisenhower to Giraud, 13 Nov 43, AFHQ 
01 00/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt. 

18 Ltr, Eisenhower to CCS, 23 Nov 43, in same 
file. 

ln Memo, Loomis for G-4, 23 Nov 43, JRC 902 
Modification of Rearmt. 



110 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



a substantial increase in service troops and 
base section units considered necessary for 
an army of eleven divisions. It was to be 
used by the French as a basis in deciding 
how many increments of self-sustaining 
army corps they could reasonably activate. 29 
General Giraud's long-awaited reply to 
General Eisenhower's two communications 
finally came on 29 November. 21 Contrary 
to all expectations, the French Commander 
in Chief merely reaffirmed his determina- 
tion to implement the 15 August Plan in 
its original form, meanwhile retaining the 
1st Motorized Infantry Division as a non- 
program unit. In support of his position, 
he furnished statistics intended to show that 
sufficient white effectives would be found to 
provide the necessary technicians and spe- 
cialists. Service units, he explained, would 
be set up progressively as materiel and 
troops became available, and in such a 
manner that the last unit would be ready 
by 15 July 1944. The 15 August Plan, he 
asserted in conclusion, could be achieved 
in its entirety "with a necessary time lag" 
between the activation of combat units and 
the setting up of the corresponding services. 
As for the 20 November Plan, he had re- 
quested his staff to study it and he would 
send his comments on it shortly. A post- 
script, penned by the general himself, con- 
tained this last plea: "At the present time, 
the main consideration is to equip the divi- 
sions as originally contemplated, for which 
cadre and fighting personnel are now com- 

a Chart, 20 Nov Plan, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 
Div Ops Fr Rearm t, Vol. I. 

21 On that same day, incidentally, Allied repre- 
sentatives attending the Eureka Conference (held 
at Tehran on 28 November- 1 December) heard 
Marshal Joseph Stalin raise the question of French 
rearmament. President Roosevelt outlined for his 
benefit the progress achieved to date and disclosed 
that "nine" divisions, re-equipped and trained by 
the United States, would soon be ready. 



plete. To delay their rearmament will be 
an error likely to have grave consequences. 22 
AFHQ officials received General Giraud's 
communication with considerable appre- 
hension. In the opinion of G-3, the French 
Commander in Chief either failed to under- 
stand the importance of providing an army 
properly balanced in combat and essential 
service units, or "purposely ignored" the 
suggestion made to him by General Eisen- 
hower on 1 3 November. Not only was the 
proposal to retain the 1st Motorized In- 
fantry Division as an eighth infantry divi- 
sion regarded as likely to aggravate an 
already serious deficiency in service units, 
but it was feared that it would result in 
setting up a force better adapted to an oc- 
cupational role than combat against a first- 
class enemy. 23 

Reluctant to act in a manner that might 
be construed as arbitrary, General Eisen- 
hower agreed to call a conference with the 
French, presided over by G-3, for the pur- 
pose of re-examining the entire rearmament 
question. To provide the conference with 
a working basis on which to draft a pro- 
gram commensurate with available qualified 
manpower, AFHQ staff sections undertook 
to prepare alternate tables of the minimum 
essential supporting service and base units 
for an expeditionary force of 7 infantry and 
3 armored divisions, 7 infantry and 2 ar- 
mored divisions, or 6 infantry and 2 armored 
divisions. These tables were to serve as a 
basis for scaling down, if found necessary, 
the present 20 November Plan of 7 infantry 
and 4 armored divisions to whichever of 
the three combinations would be most prac- 
ticable in the light of French capabilities. 

"Ltr, Giraud to Eisenhower, 29 Nov 43, JRC 
904 Modifications of Rearmt. 

31 Memo, Rooks for CofS AFHQ, 1 Dec 43. 
AFHQ 0100/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt, Vol. I. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: I 



111 



Copies of the tables, once completed, were 
forwarded to the French for their consid- 
eration. 24 

As the month of December opened, the 
rearmament operations were still bogged 
down. No action beyond shipment of the 
October slice of the 15 August Plan had 
been taken to assign equipment. The pros- 
pect of an immediate resumption of ship- 
ments was dim. Yet the weeks just ended 
had not been altogether fruitless. The 
readying of the first French expeditionary 
forces had gone on at an accelerated pace. 
In fact it was about to reach its culmination 
in an event of significant importance. 

On 8 December, two days before the 
scheduled rearmament conference, a Un- 
equipped North African division was com- 
mitted to combat in Italy. The action re- 
sulted from a decision reached at a meeting 
of the Commanders in Chief held on 3 
November, and in execution of plans drawn 
in August by AFHQ and the French High 
Command."' The division, the 2d Moroc- 
can Infantry (2d DIM), commanded by 
Maj. Gen. Andre Dody and accompanied 
by a regiment of Moroccan goumiers, the 
4th Group of Tabors (4th GTM), consti- 
tuted the advance party of the French 
increment expected to be engaged in opera- 
tions in the Italian theater. For the mo- 
ment, it was to reinforce, and fight as part 
of, the U.S. VI Corps, one of the component 
corps of Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark's Fifth 
Army, itself part of the Eighth British Army, 
commanded by General Sir Bernard L. 
Montgomery. As General Marshall had 
pointed out a week before in the course of 

"* Memo, Rooks To All Concerned, 4 Dec 43, in 
same file. 

35 Field Marshal Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander, 
The Allied Armies in Italy From 3rd September 
1943, to 12th December 1944 (London: His Maj- 
esty's Stationery Office, 1950). 



the Tehran Conference, the build-up of the 
French increment was to be effected pro- 
gressively on the basis of the performance 
of the first division. 26 Actually, however, 
another division, the, 3d Algerian Infantry 
(3d DIA), under the command of Maj. 
Gen. Aime de Goislard de Monsabert, was 
already en route to join the 2d DIM in 
battle. The dispatch of these units was 
consonant with a decision reached by the 
CCS themselves at the Cairo Conference on 
the very eve of the engagement of the 2d 
DIM. All French troops, they had then 
agreed, would be given battle experience in 
Italy before their ultimate employment in 
operations in continental France. 27 

These and other developments were tan- 
gible proof that the rearmament opera- 
tions, notwithstanding their setbacks, were 
beginning to bear fruit. The entry of the 
2d DIM into combat at this juncture was 
an excellent case in point. The division 
had been activated, equipped, schooled in 
the technical use of its materiel, subjected 
to extensive and intensive tactical training, 
briefed, shipped, and brought to the front 
line, all in just seven months. This was a 
record that those responsible for French 
rearmament could well be proud of. In 
addition to the 2d DIM and the 3d DIA, 
a third division, the 9th Colonial Infantry 
(9th DIC), was being readied for shipment 
overseas, and another, the 4th Moroccan 
Mountain (4th DMM), was completing 
its re-equipment in Corsica, Of the ar- 
mored divisions, two (the 1st DB and 5th 
DB) were ready; a third (the 2d DB), al- 
ready trained, was waiting for the rest of 
its equipment. 

The 4th GTM entering the front line 

M Min, Plenary Sess, 29 Nov 43, Eureka Conf. 
S7 Min, CCS 138th Mtg, 7 Dec 43, Sextant 
Conf. 



112 



REARMING THE FRENCH 




GOUMIERS OF THE 4TH GROUP OF TABORS, Italy, December 1943. Men 
around the fire have American C rations. 



alongside the 2d DIM was one of several 
smaller organizations which were not origi- 
nally planned for under the rearmament 
program, but which the French had acti- 
vated and made ready largely at the urging 
of AFHQ. These nonprogram units, most 
of which were earmarked for service in Italy, 
included 4 Moroccan tabor groups cor- 
responding to 4 U.S. light infantry regi- 
ments, 8 mule pack companies correspond- 
ing to 16 U.S. mule pack companies, 1 
brigade of spahis corresponding to 1 U.S. 
horse cavalry regiment, 1 Commando Bat- 
talion and 1 Shock Battalion corresponding 
to 2 U.S. infantry battalions of the Ranger 



type, various headquarters, and divisional 
training centers. 

The four Moroccan tabor groups, each 
consisting of three tabors, or battalions, rep- 
resented a total of approximately 13,000 
goumiers. The basic organization of these 
robust, hardy, fearless mountaineers, most 
of them Berbers from the Atlas region, was 
the goum, or company, of a strength of 
approximately 220 men including French 
cadres of 2 officers and 1 2 noncommissioned 
officers, and 16 native noncommissioned 
officers. Because of its extreme mobility 
and lightness, the goum was regarded by 
the French military authorities as a sort 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: I 



113 



of "foot cavalry" unit able to accomplish, 
over difficult terrain, some of the missions 
ordinarily assigned to mounted cavalry. 28 
In view of the mountainous country in 
which the U.S. Fifth Army was then operat- 
ing, Allied and French commanders ex- 
pected to gain substantial advantage from 
the employment of goumiers. Already a 
number of tabors had proved their worth 
in the Tunisian campaign, in the conquest 
of Sicily, and in the assault on Corsica. 
All goumiers were, since 1 July 1943, under 
the operational command of Brig. Gen. 
Augustin Guillaume. 

The mule pack companies were necessary 
not only for the support of the French divi- 
sions being sent to Italy but, as General 
Smith pointed out in a letter to General 
Giraud, for the support of the U.S. Fifth 
Army as a whole. Several such companies 
were already in Italy, 29 

Operational developments in Italy had 
prompted AFHQ, in October, to request 
General Giraud to nominate a horse cavalry 
regiment for service with the U.S. Fifth 
Army. General Giraud had then offered a 
brigade of spahis (native horsemen) con- 
sisting of two regiments, the 7th Algerian 
Spahis and the 5th Moroccan Spahis, with 
a total strength of approximately 2,200 
men. To equip the brigade, the French 
General Staff had drawn a substantial 
amount of American equipment from pro- 
gram units, and obtained additional mate- 
riel (vehicles, armament, and technical 
items) from U.S. theater stocks in answer 
to an urgent appeal from General Giraud. 
The brigade, incidentally, never reached 

^ For information concerning the organization 
and employment of Moroccan poums, see Memo 
2453/EMGG/3/CEF, Gen Juin,' 15 Jul 43, AFHQ 
AG Sec 336.2 (Fr) Foreign Armies. 

ra Ltr, Smith to Giraud, 2 Dec 43, JRC 370/001 
Emp!oyment of Units — Gen. 



Italy; a subsequent change in the opera- 
tional situation made its dispatch to that 
theater no longer necessary. 30 

Both the Commando Battalion and the 
Shock Battalion had been organized from 
personnel released after the disbandment of 
the Corps Franc at the close of the Tuni- 
sian campaign. The Shock Battalion, it 
will be recalled, had participated in the 
liberation of Corsica. The French General 
Staff had issued both units some American 
equipment to complete their French ma- 
teriel. They were not required for service 
with the Fifth Army, but were being held 
in readiness for possible employment in the 
Mediterranean. 

All together the equipping of these vari- 
ous nonprogram units had consumed a sub- 
stantial amount of American equipment 
originally intended for program units. As 
a result, program units were feeling more 
than ever the pinch of shortages. It was 
imperative, therefore, that some definite pol- 
icy be established with regard to the present 
and future equipping of nonprogram units. 
The issue, in fact, was one of the many 
questions on the agenda of the armament 
conference scheduled for 1 December. 

Attending the conference, held at AFHQ, 
were some twenty U.S. officers representing 
various AFHQ and NATOUSA staff sec- 
tions and headed by General Smith. The 
French delegation included General De- 
vinck, chief of General Giraud's personal 
staff, Colonel Regnault, chief of the French 
Section, JRC, and other officers from the 
French General Staff. Opening the meet- 
ing, Maj. Gen. Lowell VV. Rooks, Assistant 
Chief of Staff G-3, AFHQ, reiterated the 

M Ltr, Whitcley to Giraud, 12 Oct 43, Ltrs, 
Giraud to Eisenhower, 19 Oct, 4 Nov 43, and Ltr, 
Hq NATOUSA to SOS, 8 Nov 43, JRC 400.1/003 
Equip and Sups for Spahis. 



114 



REARMING THE FRENCH 




SPAHIS IN NORTH AFRICA 



need of creating a balanced French force 
and asked the conference to determine and 
agree upon a reasonable basis, fully con- 
sonant with French manpower availability, 
on which to establish a final program. To 
arrive at such a basis, he pointed out, it 
might be necessary to reduce the number of 
divisions from 11 to 10, 9, or even 8. 

The conferees first examined the practi- 
cability of the larger program as revised on 
20 November. Speaking for General 
Giraud, General Devinck, while readily 
agreeing to the elimination of a fourth corps 
and of a twelfth division as proposed by the 
French Commander in Chief in late Octo- 
ber, made a strong plea for the retention of 
the 15 August Plan. The current activa- 
tion program as developed by the French 
General Staff, he explained, was based on 
the assumption that the August Plan was 



firm and final. Implementation of the plan, 
he pointed out in addition, was proceeding 
satisfactorily, as evidenced by the arrival of 
the first combat divisions in Italy. Turning 
to the troublesome question of service units, 
General Devinck declared that the activa- 
tion of these units, although now behind 
schedule, would be effected in due time 
because the French General Staff was ex- 
erting every effort in that direction. Some 
of the units, he added, were unnecessary 
in any case. The French Army could do 
with fewer service units than the U.S. Army ; 
furthermore, inasmuch as it was destined 
ultimately to operate on home soil, it would 
be in a position to use local resources. 31 

31 The French were generally of the opinion that 
the U.S. Army had an overabundance of services 
some of which would be of little use to their Own 
frugal forces. As an example they pointed out 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: I 



115 



Apparently impressed by General Devinck's 
arguments, the conferees attempted to reach 
a compromise between the 20 November 
and 15 August Plans by deleting a number 
of unnecessary service units. Discussions 
on the matter were to be resumed four days 
later. 32 

General Devinck's strong assertion that 
a program of eleven divisions was practi- 
cable must be weighed in relation to the 
stand then taken by other members of the 
French High Command. From available 
evidence it appears that the earlier solidarity 
of French thought on the subject, as re- 
flected in the de Gaulle-Giraud memoran- 
dum of 18 September, had dissipated. 33 In 
fact Giraud's personal staff, of which Gen- 
eral Devinck was the chief, and the French 
General Staff were in sharp disagreement 
over the matter. Their divergence of views 
resulted from a different approach to the 
problem. General Staff officers felt that 
it would be next to impossible to find the 
necessary technicians and specialists for 
seven infantry and four armored divisions 
as provided under the 15 August Plan. They 
reasoned as follows. To activate the entire 
program would require 403,800 men, 
147,500 of whom must be Frenchmen to 
serve as cadres, technicians, and specialists. 
The prospects of getting this large number 
of white effectives were slim. Fewer men 
than originally anticipated were escaping 

that their divisions had no need for laundry com- 
panies since African natives, who formed the bulk 
of their effectives, were used to washing their own 
linen. See Marey, "Le Rearmement francais en 
Afrique du Nord (1942-1944)," Revue Politique et 
Parlementaife (October, 1947), p. 56. 

12 Min, Fr Rearmt Conf, 10 Dec 43, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt, Vol. I. 

M See Resume des Operations de Rearmement, 
undated and unsigned, original provided by Gen 
Devinck, copy in Fr Reds File 218, OCMH; see 
also Interv with Gen Regnault, A ug 50 ; de Gaulle 
and Giraud Ltr and Memo cited In. 5] above. 



from France to North Africa. The inte- 
gration of the Gaullist forces had yielded 
a relatively small number of Frenchmen. 
Even with the application of the contem- 
plated mobilization measures (such as the 
recall of the 1919-35 classes of reservists, 
that is, of men twenty-nine to forty-four 
years of age ) , it was estimated that a total 
of not more than 138,000 Frenchmen could 
be found. The resulting deficit in white 
effectives would amount to approximately 
9,500 for the expeditionary forces alone. 
To this number must be added the white 
personnel required to maintain both an ade- 
quate reserve pool for the combat troops 
and the military establishments in the zone 
of interior. In the opinion of the General 
Staff, therefore, the 15 August Plan could 
not be implemented until such time as the 
liberation of part of the Metropolitan terri- 
tory had yielded additional French man- 
power. 

General Giraud's personal staff, on the 
other hand, considered the manpower 
problem from the standpoint of quantity 
rather than of quality. According to their 
calculations, the reserve pool for the eleven- 
division program could reasonably be re- 
duced from 20 percent as now set to 15 
percent of the strength of the expeditionary 
forces. This would lower the minimum of 
effectives required to 350,750 men. Since 
it was anticipated that total resources in 
North Africa could reach 540,000 men, 
there would be left 189,250 men for pur- 
poses other than the expeditionary forces 
and the reserve pool. With the needs of 
zone of interior establishments not exceed- 
ing 180,000 men, officers of Giraud's per- 
sonal staff considered that available 
manpower would be more than sufficient 
to permit the setting up of the entire pro- 
gram. It is interesting to note, incidentally, 



116 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



that in spite of this claim the French military 
authorities were already having difficulty in 
sending to Italy the personnel needed to re- 
place the heavy losses currently being sus- 
tained by the 2d Moroccan Infantry 
Division. 

At the end of the conference the delegates 
agreed to reconvene four days later. It was 
at this juncture, just when negotiations were 
proceeding satisfactorily although at a slow 
pace, that a flare-up in the political tug of 
war between the French Committee of Na- 
tional Liberation and the French High 
Command threatened, once again, the very 
existence of the rearmament program. 

The 1st DMI Incident 

Having been requested by AFHQ several 
weeks back to nominate a third infantry 
division for service with the U.S. Fifth Army 
in Italy, General Giraud had designated the 
British-equipped 1st Motorized Infantry 
Division. The reasons for this selection, as 
he gave them to General Smith, were mili- 
tary as well as political. The 1st DMI was, 
in his estimation, well trained and contained 
a high percentage of Foreign Legion troops 
of first-class fighting capacity. Moreover, 
it was an ex-Free French unit. As such, its 
inclusion among the forces being sent to 
Italy was highly desirable if only to ward off 
any possible criticism on the part of the 
Gaullists. 34 

After much exchange of correspondence, 
AFHQ informed General Giraud on 1 De- 
cember that the Commanding General, 
Allied Armies in Italy, General Sir Harold 



M Ltr, Smith to Giraud, 18 Nov 43, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Corres; Hq Fr High 
Comd, GO 14, 18 Nov 43, quoted in Memo, G-3 
Fr CinC's Personal Staff, n. d., copy in OCMH; 
Msg 6357, Smith to CG 15th Army Gp, 27 Nov 
43, JRC Cable Log. 



R. L. G. Alexander, was not prepared to ac- 
cept the 1st DMI as then equipped but 
would welcome it if rearmed with U.S. ma- 
teriel. This view was shared by General 
Clark in whose Army the French divisions 
were fighting. 35 

On 3 December, after restating that the 
1st DMI could not be employed as cur- 
rently equipped, AFHQ requested Gen- 
eral Giraud, in view of the urgency of the 
matter, to nominate at once another in- 
fantry division to be ready for embarkation 
beginning 20 December. General Giraud 
promptly announced that he was assigning 
the American-equipped 9th Colonial In- 
fantry Division (9th DIC) in lieu of the 1st 
DMI. 36 

Apprised of this nomination, the National 
Defense Committee, acting presumably 
under authority of the decree of 2 October 
1943, rejected General Giraud's decision 
twenty-four hours after it had been an- 
nounced. 37 Endorsing General de Gaulle's 
views on the subject, the members of the 
committee, excepting of course General 
Giraud, ordered that the designation of the 
1st DMI be maintained. Their action was 
indicative that the French Commander in 
Chief no longer held any influence with the 
committee. To many an observer it seemed 
but a matter of a short time before he would 
be relegated to a back seat and possibly 
forced to withdraw entirely from the mili- 
tary scene. Informal word of the commit- 
tee's action, followed one day later by offi- 

5S Msg MA-792, Alexander to CinC AFHQ, 30 
Nov 43, JRC Cable Log. 

30 Ltr, Giraud to Eisenhower, 9 Dec 43, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Authority for Control of 
Fr Exp Forces. 

3T Article 6 of the decree: "Within the scope of 
the directives of the CFLN, the National Defense 
Committee shall decide upon the over-all plans con- 
cerning the organization, distribution, and employ- 
ment of the French forces." 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: I 



117 



cial confirmation from General Giraud, 
reached AFHQ just as General Devinck 
was pleading for the retention of the eleven- 
division program. 38 Its effect could not be 
anything but detrimental, especially at a 
time when Franco-American relations were 
already strained. AFHQ viewed the action 
with considerable apprehension. G-3 offi- 
cials in particular regarded it as a threat to 
the successful prosecution of the war. 

Complying with the National Defense 
Committee's decision, General Giraud or- 
dered the immediate integration of the 1st 
DM I in the rearmament program as one of 
the seven infantry divisions, a course of ac- 
tion which elicited a word of praise from 
General Eisenhower. '" The length of time 
required to re-equip and train the division 
with American materiel was bound to delay 
its departure for several months. The delay 
in turn seriously threatened the success of 
operations in Italy. Later events demon- 
strated that the threat was real. The 2d 
DIM and 3d DIA, regrouped in early Jan- 
uary 1944 as the nucleus of a separate corps, 
known thereafter as the French Expedi- 
tionary Corps (Corps Expeditionnaire 
Frangais — CEF), under the command of 
General Juin, did not receive a third divi- 
sion until the end of February, instead of 
mid-January as had been hoped, For lack 
of reinforcements during the intervening six 
weeks, General Juin was unable to exploit 
the successes achieved by his forces north of 

^Ltr 924/3.S, Giraud to AFHQ, 11 Dec 43, 
quoted in Memo, G-3 for CofS, 11 Dec 43, AFHQ 
0100/12G G-3 Div Ops Authority for Control of 
Fr Exp Forces. 

*' In a letter to General Giraud, General Eisen- 
hower praised the French Commander in Chief 
for "sacrificing" some of his own desires in order 
"to promote the best interests of the French and 
a better understanding among the Allies." Ltr, 
Eisenhower to Giraud^ 31 Dec 43, AFHQ SAGS 
Red Sec, Fr Matters, Gen Giraud. 



Cassino. 10 The third division to join the 
CEF, it must be noted, was the 4th Moroc- 
can Mountain, commanded by Maj. Gen. 
Francois Sevez, ready long before the 1st 
DMI. The 1st DMI, under the command 
of Brig. Gen. Charles Brosset, arrived fi- 
nally in April as the fourth and last division 
of the CEF. 

The committee's action in reversing Gen- 
eral Giraud's decision focused attention on 
an important and delicate issue, present 
since November 1942, but one that had 
engaged only the sporadic attention of 
Anglo-American authorities, namely, the 
question of the control of French forces. No 
firm understanding had yet been reached 
regarding the matter other than the arrange- 
ment set forth in the Clark-Darlan Agree- 
ment of 22 November 1942. The agree- 
ment stipulated that the status, command, 
functions, employment, rights, and privi- 
leges of the French land, sea, and air forces 
were to remain "under French direction." 
No basis, therefore, existed on which the 
Allied Commander in Chief could claim au- 
thority to issue orders either to the French 
Commander in Chief, to the French Com- 
mittee of National Liberation, or to the lat- 
ter's military representative, the National 
Defense Committee, concerning the disposal 
of French forces. Eisenhower was in fact 
dependent on voluntary French acquies- 
cence in his proposals. In the past, it had 
been possible to deal directly with Giraud 
with reasonable assurance that just demands 
would be met. The committee's recent ac- 
tion constituted a reversal of the existing 
arrangement and a dangerous precedent. 
The time had come to obtain the CFLN's 
agreement that in the future the troops in- 

40 General Marcel Carpenticr, Les Forces Alliees 
en Italie; la Campagne d'ltalie (Paris: Berger- 
Levrault, 1949), p. 69. 



118 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



eluded in the rearmament program would 
be made available as and when requested, 
for employment in areas and under com- 
mands designated by the Allied Command- 
er in Chief. Divisions, corps, and armies, 
when employed as such, would of course 
be under French commanders. Convinced 
that the practice of dealing directly with the 
French Commander in Chief was desirable 
and should be continued, General Rooks 
suggested that "the onus of getting the re- 
quired guarantee from the Committee 
should be placed on him." 41 

In line with this recommendation, Eisen- 
hower requested General Giraud, on 14 De- 
cember, to transmit to the CFLN the fol- 
lowing warning. In view of the National 
Defense Committee's action, which from the 
tactical standpoint entailed "grave conse- 
quences," the rearmament program would 
not be continued unless the CFLN gave defi- 
nite assurance that the use of the rearmed 
forces would be "governed solely by military 
considerations and subject to the decisions 
of the Combined Chiefs of Staff through 
their representative, the Allied CinC in this 
Theater." 42 AFHQ immediately cabled a 
copy of Eisenhower's letter to the CCS and 
informed President Roosevelt and Prime 
Minister Churchill of the incident. The 
President requested General Marshall to 
keep him abreast of subsequent develop- 
ments. 43 

General Giraud was now placed in a 



41 Memo, Rooks for Smith, 12 Dec 43, AFHQ 
0100/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Authority for Control of 
Fr Exp Forces. 

42 Ltr, Eisenhower to Giraud, 14 Dec 43, AFHQ 
0I00/12C G-3 Div Ops Authority for Control of 
Fr Exp Forces. 

43 Msg, Eisenhower to CCS, 15 Dec 43, NAF 548 ; 
Msg W-8446, Eisenhower to Marshall, 24 Dec 43, 
AFHQ 0100/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt, Vol. I; 
Msg WX-5492, Marshall to Eisenhower, 22 Dec 43, 
OPD Cable Files. 



doubly embarrassing position, for the warn- 
ing which he was to transmit to the CFLN 
was the indirect result of one of his own de- 
cisions. The committee seized the oppor- 
tunity to tighten further its grip on the con- 
trol of French military affairs. By a new 
decree on the Organization of the High 
Command, issued on 16 December, the 
CFLN transferred much of the power here- 
tofore vested in the Commander in Chief 
to the National Defense Committee. 
Thereafter the National Defense Commit- 
tee was to make all decisions concerning the 
employment and distribution of forces as 
well as the general armament and organi- 
zation programs. The Commander in 
Chief was "appointed by decree of the 
CFLN." Placed on a level with both the 
Commissioner of War and Air and the Com- 
missioner of the Navy, he was to "take part" 
in rearmament discussions and negotiations, 
and countersign all rearmament requisitions 
submitted by the individual Commissioners 
in accordance with the general directives 
of the National Defense Committee/ 4 

To say that the 1 6 December decree had 
curtailed General Giraud's functions would 
be an understatement. By it, the only forces 
left under his control were the expedition- 
ary forces, and even his control over them 
ceased the moment they were committed 
to an overseas operation, for they then 
passed under Allied command. All other 
forces were under the direct control of the 
Commissioners of War and Air and of the 
Navy. Commenting on the implications 
of this and other decrees," AFHQ officials 

"Decree of 16 Dec 43, CFLN, JRC 320/004 
Orgn of Fr Army. 

" Such as the decree concerning the Organiza- 
tion of the Expeditionary Ground Forces, dated 
7 January 1943 and signed by General de Gaulle 
and Andre Le Troquer, Commissioner of War and 
Air. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: I 



119 



admitted that the authority of the French 
Commander in Chief was on its way to be- 
coming "negligible." They agreed, how- 
ever, that since he was being held "respon- 
sible for liaison," the practice of dealing 
with him should continue as before until 
such time as it would prove ineffective. 46 
Meanwhile, General de Gaulle, as Presi- 
dent of the CFLN, had asked for a con- 
ference with representatives of the Allied 
Commander in Chief to discuss the terms of 
the assurance required of the committee in 
connection with the control of French forces. 
The meeting, first planned for 24 December 
but postponed pending the outcome of an- 
other serious French political crisis, was 
held three days later in General de Gaulle's 
office. 47 It was attended by General Smith, 
Edwin Wilson, Minister of the United 
States, Harold Macmillan, Minister of the 
United Kingdom, and Rene Massigli, 
French Commissioner of Foreign Affairs. 
Massigli handed to his American and Brit- 
ish colleagues the text of a draft agreement 
prepared by the CFLN setting forth the 
conditions under which the Allied Com- 
mander in Chief could employ the land, sea, 
and air forces placed at his disposal by the 
committee. Smith then informed Massigli 
that a recent CCS decision to undertake 
an assault on continental France in the near 



48 Memo, G-3 Opns for G-3 Sec AFHQ, 20 Jan 
44, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Negotiations, 
No. 1, Vol. II. 

" Informed that the CFLN was planning to mete 
out severe punishment in the case of several offi- 
cials who in the past had shown strong pro- Vichy 
tendencies, President Roosevelt requested General 
Eisenhower cm 22 December to "direct" the com- 
mittee to take no action against these individuals 
at the present time in view of the assistance given 
by them to the Allied armies during the campaign 
in Africa. The CFLN complied with the request. 
Msg 5456, WAR to Algiers (secret and personal 
from the President for Gen Eisenhower), 22 Dec 
43, White House File. 



future envisaged the participation of all 
French land and air forces, whether Ameri- 
can- or British-equipped. The greater part 
of the land forces, he added, would be em- 
ployed as a French army in an operation 
of which he gave the general outline and 
the approximate location. 48 

The decision to which General Smith re- 
ferred had been made a fortnight before in 
the course of the Cairo Conference. The 
Combined Chiefs had agreed that the cross- 
Channel attack ( Overlord ) , with a target 
date of 1 May, would be supported by a 
simultaneous assault on southern France 
(Anvil, later Dragoon). They had de- 
cided further that the bulk of the French 
forces would participate in Anvil, and only 
a token force in Overlord. The CCS 
agreement that the rearmed forces would 
ultimately be employed on French soil was 
a momentous one. It would tend to reas- 
sure the French that their legitimate ambi- 
tion to participate in the liberation of their 
homeland would be fulfilled. It would 
also serve to stimulate interest in French 
rearmament, for it represented a definite 
objective on which AFHQ and the War 
Department could base the next phase. 
Once the extent of French participation in 
both Overlord and Anvil had been deter- 
mined, it would be relatively easy to de- 
velop and implement a final program. 49 

Two days after the conference in General 
de Gaulle's office, Massigli informed the 
British and American political representa- 
tives that General Smith's disclosures re- 
garding the future employment of the 
French forces had "removed the essential 
anxieties" of the CFLN. As a result, the 



*"Ltr, Massigli to Wilson, 30 Dec 43, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Negotiations, No. 1, 
Vol. II. 

18 Min, CCS 136th Mtg, 4 Dec 43, and CCS 138th 
Mtg, 7 Dec 43, Sextant Conf. 



120 



REARMING THE FRENCH 




CONFERENCE IN ALGIERS, November 1943. From left: Rene Masstgli, Andrei Y. 
Vishinsky, Maj. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, Harold Macmillan, and Robert D. Murphy. The 
27 December meeting was attended by Edwin Wilson, Minister of the United States, and those 
shown in the photograph except for Mr. Vishinsky. 



committee had decided to place these forces 
at the disposal of the CCS to be used by the 
Allied Commander in Chief, in consulta- 
tion with the French High Command, for 
the execution of the contemplated opera- 
tions. While eager not to hinder the con- 
duct of these operations, the committee re- 
served the right to appeal to the American 
and British governments, and the right of 
the French High Command to appeal to the 
Allied Commander in Chief to ensure that 
the use of the forces in question would take 
French interests into account "as completely 
as possible." 50 



The solution offered by the CFLN for 
the control of French forces was received by 
AFHQ with considerable satisfaction. As 
General Eisenhower had been given to ex- 
pect by his advisers, the committee had rec- 
ognized the "reasonableness" of his de- 
mands, and in turn was making a reasonable 
proposal. 51 It now remained for the CCS 
to settle the issue. For the moment the 
danger of a serious crisis had subsided. The 
tension brought about by the 1st DMI epi- 
sode was rapidly abating. On 4 January 
AFHQ informed the CCS of the details of 
the CFLN proposals, adding these comfort- 



M Ltr, Massigli to Wilson, 30 Dec 43, AFHQ 
01 00/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Fr Negotiations, No. 1, 
Vol. II. 



51 Msg W-8446, Eisenhower to Marshall, 24 Dec 
43, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rcarmt, 
Vol. I. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: I 



121 



ing words: "The equipping of the French 
forces is continuing." 52 

Cutback of the Program — The 23 January 
Plan 

Staff discussions, meanwhile, had gone on 
undisturbed. The problems raised in the 
course of the 10 December conference were 
taken up again at the second meeting held 
as scheduled four days later. The con- 
ferees examined once more the 20 Novem- 
ber Plan and proceeded to reduce it by 
eliminating certain unnecessary engineer, 
field artillery, and antiaircraft artillery units. 
General Devinck then expressed his convic- 
tion that the French High Command had 
the necessary personnel to fulfill the program 
as now revised. Turning to the question of 
nonprogram units, he urged that some pro- 
vision be made for their equipment. These 
units, he pointed out, had been requested 
for employment by the Allies and a number 
of them were already in Italy. After some 
discussion, the conferees agreed, in part, 
that ( 1 ) the JRC would, as a matter of 
urgency, examine the revised program in 
the light of available qualified French man- 
power, and determine whether or not it 
could be effectively fulfilled; (2) the French 
High Command would make available to 
the JRC all pertinent information needed 
for such an examination; (3) the schedule 
for activating and equipping units in the 
program would be phased so that the forces 
could be made ready for employment in in- 
crements of self-sustaining army corps with 
proportionate supporting combat and serv- 
ice units for the corps, army and base in- 
stallations; and (4) some provision would 

52 Msg W-9307/23731, Eisenhower to CCS, 4 
Jan 44, IVAF 579. 



be made for the issue of equipment to non- 
program units. 5:4 

Immediately after the conference, the 
French military authorities took steps to 
force a decision with respect to the provi- 
sion of equipment to nonprogram units. In 
their opinion the matter was a serious one, 
for the issue of U.S. materiel to these units 
had produced critical shortages in the equip- 
ment of program units. To fill these short- 
ages, they announced their intention to sub- 
mit additional requisitions. Commenting 
on the proposal, General Loomis declared 
himself opposed to requisitioning complete 
initial equipment for the nonprogram units 
since they were basically French-equipped. 
He considered that their inclusion on the 
program for maintenance only would ade- 
quately take care of their needs. His rec- 
ommendation was endorsed by G-3 and 
G-4, AFHQ, and, for the moment at least, 
made the basis of the theater's policy on the 
matter. 54 

General Eisenhower had already in- 
formed the War Department that he would 
soon forward, for submission to the CCS, the 
final recommendations of the theater on the 
auxiliary units to be added to the program. 
He had also indicated that an entirely new 
project, incidental to the rearmament pro- 
gram and under consideration at AFHQ for 
some time, was being transmitted to Wash- 
ington by separate cable, likewise for sub- 
mission to the CCS. '' 

The new project concerned the provision 
of materiel to French Communications 
Zone establishments considered necessary to 



Min, Fr Rearmt Cotif, 14 Dec 43, AFHQ 0100/ 
12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt, Vol. I. 

54 Memos, Regnault for Loomis, 15 Dec 43, and 
Loomis for G-3 AFHQ, 15 Dec 43, JRC 904 Modi- 
fication of Rearmt. 

M Msg W-7569, Eisenhower to AGWAR, 14 Dec 
43, in same file. 



122 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



maintain the normal life of the expedition- 
ary forces. The question was not a new 
one. In fact, since February 1943, the War 
Department had been shipping maintenance 
materials for these establishments, such as 
ammunition, petroleum, and subsistence, at 
the rate of approximately 4,000 tons 
monthly and on the basis of requisitions 
submitted by the French Military Mission 
in Washington. 58 The French, however, 
had come to regard this assistance as totally 
inadequate and not commensurate with the 
expansion of their expeditionary forces, 
The question of increasing this assistance 
came up in the fall of 1943 in connection 
with a study of French maintenance require- 
ments for the future months. In early Oc- 
tober War Department officials requested 
the French military authorities to prepare, 
with the assistance of the JRC, and submit 
without delay an estimate of their mainte- 
nance requirements for the calendar years 
1 944 and 1 945 . This estimate was to be in- 
corporated in the Army Supply Program 
then under preparation in Washington. It 
was to include a computation of the mainte- 
nance requirements on all materiel, Ameri- 
can, British, French, and enemy-captured, 
other than that sent from the United States 
under the rearmament program. The War 
Department, lacking adequate information, 
delegated the study to the theater. In mid- 
October General Leyer submitted to the 
JRC a number of requisitions. At the same 
time the National Defense Committee pro- 
duced a long memorandum which the 
French Military Mission in Washington 
passed on to General Marshall. 57 

r " Memo, Loomis for CG NATOUSA, 12 Mar 44, 
JRC 400.4/002 Maintenance for Territorial Forces. 

57 Ltrs, Leyer to Loomis, 5 Oct, 18 Oct, 20 Oct 
43, JRC 907 Rcarmt Plan '44-45; Memo, Na- 
tional Defense Committee for Fr Military Mission 
for Marshall, 16 Oct 43, ABC 091.711 France (6 
Oct 43), Sec 1-A. 



An analysis of these various documents re- 
vealed that they envisaged new projects ex- 
tending far beyond the maintenance of the 
forces being rearmed under the current pro- 
gram and the Communications Zone troops 
assigned to the support of expeditionary 
forces. The new projects included addi- 
tional units to be activated from manpower 
resources of the French Union not pres- 
ently utilized for the build-up of the expe- 
ditionary forces, a task force for employment 
in the Far East, and units to be activated in 
continental France once Overlord and 
Anvil had been launched. 

American officials promptly turned down 
these proposals. They regarded them as 
going "far beyond any possibility of early 
consideration by the CCS" and, insofar as 
the Army Supply Program was concerned, 
as wholly irrelevant. 58 In General Mar- 
shall's opinion, the projects, especially the 
proposal to rearm Metropolitan forces, were 
matters for decision by President Roosevelt 
inasmuch as they involved far-reaching 
questions of policy." 9 On 4 November 
General Loomis informed General Leyer 
that the theater would retain, for considera- 
tion and processing, only that portion of 
the requisitions which dealt with the 
Communications Zone establishments. He 
pointed out that the French High Com- 
mand was at liberty to take up all other 
projects, if it so wished, directly with the 
War Department through the French Mil- 
itary Mission. ,i0 

The requisitions submitted by General 
Leyer on behalf of the Communications 
Zone troops were quite substantial. To 

, '"' 5 Memo, Loomis for Deputy Theater Comdr, 4 
Nov 43, JRC 907 Rcarmt Plan '44-45. 

M Memo, Marshall for JCS, 2 Nov 43, ABC 
091.711 France (6 Oct 45), Sec 2-A. 

M Memo. Loomis for Leyer, 4 Nov 43, JRC 907 
Rcarmt Plan '44-45. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: I 



123 



justify their validity as well as urgency, he 
sent to General Loomis, on 10 November, a 
detailed report. The forces in question, he 
explained, fell into two categories, namely, 
Sovereignty and Territorial forces. 

Sovereignty forces were the Army units, 
none larger than a regiment, and service 
organizations whose functions General 
Leyer described as follows : to ensure French 
sovereignty over the North and West Afri- 
can territory after the departure of the ex- 
peditionary forces for overseas service, to 
maintain internal order, and to assume the 
coastal and antiaircraft defense of the ter- 
ritory as well as the guarding of airfields, 
depots, and POW camps. These forces rep- 
resented a total strength then estimated at 
103,000 men for both North and West 
Africa. Of these, 8,000 were already em- 
ployed by U.S. military authorities as guards 
in American POW camps. 

Territorial forces were the forces respon- 
sible for the running of headquarters, train- 
ing centers, schools, port bases, hospitals, 
shops, Quartermaster depots, and other sim- 
ilar establishments. Representing a total 
of some 100,000 men, these troops worked 
almost exclusively for the support of expedi- 
tionary units. 

The equipment then in the hands of both 
Sovereignty and Territorial forces was, ex- 
plained General Leyer, in deplorable condi- 
tion. All of it was of old French stock and 
was now worn out. It was urgent, he con- 
cluded, to provide these troops with initial 
equipment in addition to maintenance ma- 
terials, lest the expeditionary forces them- 
selves be deprived of proper support in the 
immediate future/ 1 ' 

General Loomis was fully aware of the 
conditions described by the French Chief of 

" Ltr, Leyer to Loomis, 10 Nov 43, JRG 400.4/ 
002 Maintenance for Territorial Forces. 



Staff and recognized the necessity of fur- 
nishing equipment at least to the forces and 
establishments devoting their activities to 
the support of expeditionary forces. He 
urged General Smith to consider the prepa- 
ration of a separate project for submission 
to the CCS. With this in view, he pro- 
ceeded to list the Territorial establishments 
which he considered indispensable, and esti- 
mated the personnel necessary to run them 
at 93,000 men. He then recommended 
that maintenance only be issued to these 
establishments, and that no consideration 
be given, for the moment, to the require- 
ments of Sovereignty forces.* 52 Endorsing 
these recommendations, General Eisen- 
hower requested the CCS to authorize the 
issue of specific materials, largely nonmil- 
itary, to such Communications Zone estab- 
lishments as the theater considered nec- 
essary. Prompt approval of the project, 
he pointed out, would ensure the proper 
support of the expeditionary forces expected 
to be re-equipped under the rearmament 
program as currently revised. 63 

The revision of the program was, of 
course, the main issue still to be solved. The 
two armament conferences had emphasized 
the desire of the French High Command to 
implement the eleven-division program in 
its entirety. General Giraud had not re- 
plied to Eisenhower's proposal, made on 13 
November, to reduce the number of divi- 
sions to be rearmed. The growing suspicion 
that he was not prepared to change his views 
on the subject gained weight when AFHQ 
officials learned that he had appealed di- 
rectly to General Marshall. 

The American Chief of Staff had, by his 

Memos, Loomis for GofS AFHQ, 13 Nov, 29 
Nov, 4 Dec 43, and Memo, Loomis for G-4, 4 Dec 
43. in same file. 

'"Msg W-7589/13853, Eisenhower to CCS, 14 
Dec 43, NAF 546. 



124 



G THE FRENCH 



attitude and utterances in the course of the 
preceding months, shown himself to be a 
firm and constant advocate of French re- 
armament. General Giraud had not failed 
to recognize this Fact and to express to Gen- 
eral Marshall, as he did again in a New 
Year's greeting, his appreciation. 84 It was to 
be expected that in his final attempt to retain 
the original program, Giraud would appeal 
to the one American official whom he re- 
garded as his staunchest supporter. In a let- 
ter submitted on his behalf, Lt, Gen. Paul 
Beynet, the new chief of the French Mili- 
tary Mission in Washington, assured Mar- 
shall that the reluctance of the French mili- 
tary authorities to accept AFHO's proposal 
to eliminate three divisions from the pro- 
gram was not due to lack of good will on 
their part," Rather it resulted from the im- 
possibility of reaching a satisfactory solution 
tn the problem of service troops. To con- 
vert into service units, he explained, good 
combat divisions now trained in the use of 
U.S. weapons and presently awaiting their 
final equipment would result in a lowering 
of morale bound to affect the entire French 
Army, The conversion, in any case, was 
not likely to produce efficient service units 
considering that the personnel so transferred, 
mostly native, had none of the professional 
aptitude or skill required to make good 
mechanics or technicians. In short, to 
adopt the proposal advocated by AFHQ 
would merely result in breaking up excellent 
fightings units and necessitate their replace- 
ment by American combat units. The help 

m Msg 109 BT, Giraud to Marshall (signed Eisen- 
hower), 31 Dec 43, OCS A-tft-M (091 France 
Sec 1). 

"General Beynet was appointed Chief, French 
Military Mission in the United State*, in November 
1^43, in replacement of General Brthouart, who 
wai retailed to .North Africa to take command of 
an Army corps. 



of the American services, therefore, was a 
primary necessity, if only to eliminate the 
need for a greater number of U.S. divisions. 15 * 

The argument was one which General 
Marshall could not dismiss lightly consider- 
ing his often repeated statement that it was 
more economical for the United States to 
rearm available French manpower than to 
ship both equipment and American man- 
power overseas. But the decision regarding 
the composition of the French forces, while 
subject to CCS approval, rested with Gen- 
eral Eisenhower. It was not likely that he 
and his staff would retreat from the firm 
position they had taken regarding the ne- 
cessity for the French forces to become self- 
sustaining. In his answer to General 
Beynct, Marshall merely observed that "the 
present position is that we are awaiting a 
reply from General Giraud." The French 
Commander in Chief had still to be heard 
from regarding Eisenhower's proposal to re- 
duce the program. 07 

The position of the theater had been 
made unmistakably clear to the French only 
a few days before by the Allied Commander 
in Chief himself. About to leave North 
Africa to take up in London his new post 
cf Supreme Commander for the cross-Chan- 
nel operation, General Eisenhower had paid 
an impromptu visit to General de Gaulle. 
One of the subjects he brought up for dis- 
cussion was the controversy over service 
troops. First he offered this sound advice : 
"We must not be mesmerized by the num- 
ber of divisions to be rearmed." Profess- 
ing not to know what this number was, he 
stressed that it was better to have one divi- 
sion completely organized than several 

*Ltr, Bc.ytiet to Marshall. 3 Jan 44, Somervell 
File,. Fr 1943 44, A -46-257, Ser I, Dr 3. 

- Lir. Marshall to Erfurt, 5 Jan 44, En same 
file. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: I 



125 



which were not. General de Gaulle im- 
mediately declared himself in agreement 
with this view. The correct policy was, he 
recognized, to complete the activation and 
equipping of some units before trying to 
form others. He agreed that they must be 
"made complete above all from the stand- 
point of Services" even if this meant that 
their number could not reach that which 
was at first contemplated. Still, he hoped 
that it would be possible to arm six infantry 
and three armored divisions as well as three 
army corps headquarters and have them 
ready by 1 April 1944. General Jean de 
Lattre de Tassigny, under whose command 
it was intended to place these forces, was 
to go into the details of their organization. 
The matter, he agreed, was one to be han- 
dled "meticulously and thoroughly." Ap- 
parently pleased by these arrangements, 
General Eisenhower then made clear to de 
Gaulle that he intended to use a token 
French force in the cross-Channel opera- 
tion: "I will not enter Paris without the 
French at my side." 68 

General de Gaulle's statements were an 
indication that his concept of armament 
problems was more realistic than General 
Giraud's. Granted that he did not feel the 
moral, obligation, as Giraud did, of holding 
firmly to the Anfa Agreement since he had 
not been a party to it, his views nevertheless 
were known to be more in line with those 
held by AFHQ officials. 69 At any rate, 
Eisenhower's advice not to be mesmerized 
by the number of divisions to be re-equipped 
had accurately identified the chief weakness 
in General Giraud's reasoning. The 
French Commander in Chief's insistence 
on adhering strictly to the original eleven- 

08 Min of Interv, Eisenhower with de Gaulle, 30 
Dee 43, JRC 908 Policy and Plan— Misc. 
<ls Interv with Loomis, Jun 50. 



division program was understandable from 
both the psychological and national points 
of view. Yet it could hardly stand up 
against the realities of the time. Primarily 
it was irreconcilable with the firm Ameri- 
can decision not to provide troops and serv- 
ices in support of the French expeditionary 
forces. 

Meeting on 31 December, the CCS re- 
jected Eisenhower's proposal of 23 Novem- 
ber that he be authorized to determine the 
appropriateness of any solution of the re- 
armament problem which Giraud might 
propose. They felt and agreed that, for the 
sake of co-ordination on the part of the 
agencies involved, matters pertaining to 
French rearmament should continue to be 
presented for their consideration with the 
recommendation of the Allied Commander 
in Chief in the theater. 70 The decision was 
communicated to General Sir Henry M ait- 
land Wilson, who was succeeding General 
Eisenhower in the Mediterranean with the 
new title of Supreme Allied Commander, 
Mediterranean Theater. 71 

The Munitions Assignments Board had 
made no assignments to the French since 
October but was ready to resume them if 
and when the theater so requested. For 
some time now, the theater had delayed 
taking final action on the proposed reduc- 
tion of the program pending word from 
General Giraud. 72 AFHQ, however, could 
wait no longer. The decision to use the 
bulk of the French forces in the Anvil op- 
eration on 1 May made it necessary to end 
policy debates. On 1 January AFHQ set 
the deadline for the readiness of partici- 
pating French troops at 1 April. With only 

T "Min, CCS 139th Mtg, 31 Dec 43. 

71 Msg 6133, CCS to AFHQ, 1 Jan 44, FAN 288. 

7; Rpt, MAB to CCS, 31 Dec 43, sub: Status 
of Fr Rearmt Program, ABC 091.711 France (6 
Oct 43), Sec 2 -a. 



126 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



three months left for preparations, there 
could no longer be any question of devot- 
ing further effort to revising the 15 August 
Plan. Instead it was imperative to deter- 
mine what units were considered essential 
for the contemplated operations and 
whether or not they could be equipped and 
made ready by 1 April. 

Expecting that a firm French troop list 
for Anvil would soon be established, AFHQ 
agreed to resume shipments from the 
United States. On 1 January the JRC or- 
dered the equipment for those units of the 
November and December slices of the Au- 
gust Plan which it considered essential for 
the contemplated operations, and which in 
its estimation the French could be expected 
to have trained and ready by 1 April. The 
JRC eliminated all other units, such as one 
army corps headquarters, one armored di- 
vision, one tank destroyer battalion, four 
shore battalions, and various supporting 
units for which the French did not have 
the necessary trained personnel. Further- 
more, in anticipation of a reduction of the 
over-all program, the committee requested 
the War Department to place the remain- 
ing infantry division of the November slice 
in last priority. On 2 January General 
Loomis queried the War Department re- 
garding the possibility of equipping eighty- 
three other supporting combat and service 
organizations whose addition to the August 
Plan was considered necessary. No equip- 
ment was currently available for these units 
in North Africa. 73 

On 9 January Lt. Gen. J. A. H. Gammell, 
successor to General Smith as Chief of Staff, 
AFHQ, informed General Giraud of the 

" Msg 221 35/W- 9044, Eisenhower to AGWAR, 
1 Jan 44, JRC Cable Log; Memo, Loomis for 
Lutes, 2 Jan 44. JRC 904 Modification of Rcarmt: 
Msg W-9934/27229, Wilson to CCS, 11 Jan 44, 
NAF 586. 



measures being taken by AFHQ as a result 
of the limited time available for prepara- 
tions. He urged Giraud to bend all efforts 
to provide units for which there was urgent 
need, and to postpone the formation of those 
not required in the immediate future. Ap- 
pended to his communication was a list of 
units on the 15 August Plan no longer con- 
sidered essential and therefore being de- 
ferred, and of those urgently needed by 1 
April or immediately after that date for 
which equipment would be made available 
if they could be trained and made ready in 
due time. 74 

General Gammell's letter brought an im- 
mediate reply from General Giraud. While 
signifying his agreement in principle, the 
French Commander in Chief restated his 
intention of retaining "as a basis" the 15 
August Plan. He confirmed the news that 
had already reached AFHQ informally that 
the National Defense Committee had or- 
dered the deactivation of two infantry di- 
visions (the 8th Algerian Infantry and the 
10th Colonial Infantry). The action, he 
pointed out, was expected to make available 
large numbers of personnel for the creation 
of supporting units. Giraud then voiced 
his belief that it would be possible at a later 
date to set up the units deferred at this 
time, in particular the fourth armored 
division. 75 

AFHO's proposal to eliminate the fourth 
armored division from the program had 
greatly distressed General Giraud. In a 
moving appeal to General Marshall, he ex- 
plained that he had consented to the elim- 
ination of two infantry divisions in order 
to retain the fourth armored division. He 
urged Marshall to demonstrate once again 

71 Ltr, Gammell to Giraud, 9 Jan 44, JRC 903 
Requests for Units. 

;r ' Ltr, Giraud to Wilson, 1 1 Jan 44, in same file. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: I 



127 



his "sympathy for France" by pressing for 
the maintenance of a unit which, for tacti- 
cal reasons, would be "indispensable" in the 
forthcoming operations. 7 " 

The National Defense Committee's deci- 
sion to abolish two infantry divisions, con- 
firmed in General Giraud's Order 16 of 1 1 
January, had been reached after the com- 
mittee became convinced that no other step 
could produce personnel for service units. 
Even officers of General Giraud's personal 
staff, who for several months had fought 
tooth and nail for the retention of the entire 
program, had finally come to the conclusion 
that deficits in technical personnel were too 
great to permit implementation of the pro- 
gram in its entirety. The elimination of 
two infantry rather than one armored and 
one infantry divisions had been decided 
upon by the committee for two reasons. 
First, it was expected to yield 3,500 more 
men. Second, it would make it possible, 
much as Giraud himself had indicated in 
his last letter to General Marshall, to retain 
the greatest possible number of armored di- 
visions whose role in the forthcoming opera- 
tions the committee considered important. 
The French General Staff was planning to 
use the 30,000-odd men now made avail- 
able to fill deficits in two other divisions 
(the 7th Algerian and 9th Colonial Infan- 
try Divisions), to provide personnel for sup- 
porting combat and service units, and finally 
to complete army corps headquarters and 
base units. 77 

AFHQ officials did not share the French 
view on the fourth armored division. In 
their judgment, terrain in southern France 
did not favor the employment of armor. 

78 Ltr, Giraud to Marshall, 10 Jan 44, OPD 336.2 
France, Sec 2. 

''' Resume des Operations de Rearmement, Fr 
Reds File 218, OCMH. 



They had fixed the composition of the 
French-U.S. invading force at two armored 
to eight infantry divisions. The two ar- 
mored divisions, they agreed, would be pro- 
vided by the French, and a third French 
armored division, if required, would be em- 
ployed in the cross-Channel operation. 
They saw no use, therefore, for the fourth 
armored division (the 3d DB), which the 
French had already organized and partly 
equipped. 78 Moreover, they suspected that 
the French action in deactivating two in- 
fantry divisions would result, in practice, in 
the elimination of only one from the pro- 
gram. Indeed the 1st DMI, heretofore re- 
tained as a twelfth nonprogram division, 
was now being incorporated in the pro- 
gram. There would still be left, in effect, 
six infantry and four armored divisions, or 
a total of ten. Such an arrangement hardly 
accorded with the recommendations of the 
theater that the program be reduced to eight 
divisions. 

The need for a speedy decision in the 
matter was becoming increasingly urgent if 
only for psychological reasons. Uncer- 
tainty as to their future was causing a 
marked lowering of morale among the offi- 
cers and men of the two divisions whose fate 
was still in the balance. These were the 
3d Armored and the 7th Algerian Infantry. 
The 3d DB was only partly equipped and 
trained. The 7th DIA had at one time re- 
ceived most of its American equipment and 
had done considerable training. In recent 
weeks some of its materiel had been turned 
over to the Spahis Brigade; now more of it 
was being transferred to the 1st DMI.' 9 

Once they had eliminated the 8th DIA 

" B Msg 578, Devers to Marshall, 28 Jan 44, CM- 
IN 19255. 

"Memo, Loomis for G~3 AFHQ, 30 Dec 43, 
JRC 370/001 Employment of Units — Gen. 



128 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



and 10th DIC, the French military author- 
ities undertook to revise their activation pro- 
gram on the basis of manpower now avail- 
able to them. On 1 7 January the National 
Defense Committee submitted to the JRC a 
copy of the revised program together with 
appropriate requisitions for materiel with 
which to equip new units. The program 
represented an attempt to effect a compro- 
mise between the demands of AFHQ for 
certain essential supporting units and the 
French desire to retain units recently de- 
ferred by AFHQ. It still included a fourth 
armored division, although in second pri- 
ority, as well as a number of units which 
AFHQ considered no longer necessary. An- 
ticipating that AFHQ would raise objec- 
tions to their proposal, the committee asked 
that a conference be held without delay at 
which representatives of the French Gen- 
eral Staff would furnish all pertinent 
information. 80 

While the French proposal was being 
studied by the JRC, discouraging news was 
received from Washington. The CCS, it 
was learned, had approved only partially 
the recommendations submitted by the thea- 
ter in mid-December on behalf of French 
Communications Zone establishments. 81 
They ruled out the provision of organiza- 
tional equipment and authorized only the 
issue of certain maintenance materials gen- 
erally falling into the category of expenda- 
ble supplies, and of such indispensable items 
(tools, electrical machines, and so on) as 
could not be obtained from other sources, 
provided the French would present sufficient 
military justification for each request. 82 In 

* Ltr, Regnault to Loomis, 17 Jan 44, JRC 903 
Requests for Units. 

81 Msg NAF 546 cited |n. 63[ above. 

"Msg 7468, CCS to Wilson, 18 Jan, 44, FAN 
321, as corrected by Msg 874.3, AGWAR to Devers, 
3 Feb 44; Msg 267, AGWAR to Devers, 20 Feb 44, 
JRC Cable Log. 



short, the Combined Chiefs were not ap- 
proving the full amount of even the rather 
limited quantities of materiel which the 
theater had requested initially. In a subse- 
quent meeting with Brig. Gen, Auguste 
Brossin de Saint-Didier, the new chief of 
the French Military Mission in the United 
States, about to depart for Washington, 
General Loomis urged his visitor to take 
the matter up directly with the War Depart- 
ment. He expressed the hope that a per- 
sonal approach would succeed where im- 
personal cables had failed in securing the 
necessary supplies. 83 

The conference requested by the National 
Defense Committee was held on 22 January. 
It was attended by Brig. Gen. William C. 
Crane, Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, 
G-3, Generals Loomis and Leyer, Colonels 
Blanc and Regnault, and other officers. 
After much discussion, the conferees drafted 
a list of the units considered necessary for 
participation in Anvil. The list repre- 
sented in effect the basis of a final rearma- 
ment program. It was immediately sub- 
mitted to the National Defense Committee, 
which approved it formally on 23 January. 
The committee agreed that the troops 
needed to implement the plan, known 
thereafter as the 23 January Plan, were to 
be drawn from the 7th DIA and the 3d DB. 
These two organizations were to be retained 
in cadre only, in the hope that they would 
be reactivated and equipped at some later 
date. 84 As Colonel Regnault pointed out to 
General Loomis, the action constituted a 
"painful sacrifice" for the divisions con- 
cerned. The French High Command 

83 Min, Conf Loomis with de Saint-Didier, 12 
Feb 44, AFHQ 0100/26 Liaison Sec 337 (Fr) 
Mtgs and Confs, Vol. I. 

"Decision, National Defense Committee, 23 Jan 
44, Rearmament Plan for Ground Forces, JRC 
902/1 Rearmt Plan. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: I 



129 



would try not to disintegrate their compo- 
nent elements but use them as constituted 
units within other organizations so as to 
maintain coherence and efficiency. It was 
imperative, then, that the necessary equip- 
ment be made available to them forthwith. 
Any delay would result in further lowering 
morale and reducing efficiency. 65 

Before replying to Giraud's appeal of 10 
January for the retention of all four armored 
divisions, General Marshall sought the views 
of the theater on the question. 8 " Lt. Gen. 
Jacob L. Devers, who had recently replaced 
Eisenhower as Commanding General, NA- 
TOUSA, reviewed for Marshall's benefit the 
status of the negotiations to date. He ex- 
plained how AFHQ had finally established 
a program aimed at equipping units which 
the French had the manpower to organize 
in full and which would be engaged in An- 
vil. As for the fourth armored division, 
General Devers expressed the opinion that it 
might be advisable to agree to its retention 
on the program with the understanding that 
the furnishing of equipment would be de- 
ferred indefinitely and that no personnel 
would be reserved for it. Such a procedure, 
he explained, would "appease French am- 
bitions and at the same time accomplish our 
purposes." 87 

The long and irksome struggle over serv- 
ice units appeared over for the moment at 

55 Memo, Regnault for Loomis, 25 Jan 44, in 
same file. 

86 Msg 8180, Marshall to Devers, 26 Jan 44, JRC 
Cable Log. 

87 Msg W-1489, Devers to Marshall, 30 Jan 44, 
AFHQ Cable Log. 



least. The victory won by AFHQ had 
made possible the establishment of a new 
armament plan, sound and reasonable and 
therefore workable. When it had been ap- 
proved by the CCS, an action which they 
were certain to take, both the French and 
the Americans would have before them a 
definite objective: the readying of a specific 
task force for operations in France. Dur- 
ing the final implementation of the program, 
as many of the units as operationally prac- 
ticable would be battle-tested beforehand in 
Italy in accordance with the desires of the 
CCS. The others would train in North 
Africa. Ultimately, all would take part in 
Overlord and Anvil. 

The 23 January Plan included in theory 
six infantry and four armored divisions, and 
some 245 supporting organizations of which 
approximately 210 were units of the former 
15 August Plan and 35 were additions. Ac- 
tually, since one infantry division was being 
retained in cadre only, and one armored 
division was deferred indefinitely, the pro- 
gram consisted of just five infantry and 
three armored divisions, or a total of eight 
divisions. That was the number which 
General Smith had recommended as a rea- 
sonable target in the course of his conversa- 
tions in Washington back in October 1943. 

The French had so far received from U.S. 
sources the equipment considered necessary 
for eight divisions and 164 supporting com- 
bat and service organizations. To imple- 
ment the 23 January Plan in full, the task of 
supplying materiel for approximately 80 
supporting organizations remained to be 
accomplished. 



CHAPTER VIII 



The Program Marks Time 

(November 1 943-February 1944) 
II 



The French Reorganize Their Supply 
System 

Efforts to induce the French High Com- 
mand to establish a sound supply system 
paralleled those which were exerted to prod 
it into organizing service units. Almost 
from the beginning of the rearmament op- 
erations, AFHQ attempted to push the 
North African Army into a position where 
it would ultimately be able to supply and 
maintain itself properly. As early as 24 
March 1943 the chairman of the JRC 
pointed out informally to his French col- 
leagues on the committee how desirable it 
would be for the French military authorities 
to reorganize their supply system along the 
lines of the American Services of Supply in 
the theater. Two weeks later, just before 
the arrival of convoy UGS 6 J/2, the first 
large-scale shipment of U.S. materiel, he 
urged the French General Staff, this time 
in writing, to centralize the control of sup- 
ply services and to institute material status 
reports similar to those used in the U.S. 
Army. 1 

After UGS 6^ was unloaded, reports 
reached the JRC indicating that U.S. 
equipment was piling up in ports because 
the existing French supply system was un- 



1 Memo, Col Ira A. Crump for Loom is, 18 Oct 
43, JRC 400.2/002 Stock Control System. 



able to keep pace with the rate of deliveries. 
By September the situation appeared to 
have worsened considerably. General 
Kingman, Chief, French Training Section, 
was expressing deep concern over the ap- 
parent incapacity of the French to organize 
their supply services on a good working 
basis. On 3 September, General Kingman 
warned the JRC at length that lack of sup- 
ply organization was having a serious effect 
on the efficiency of the entire French ord- 
nance system. Even division ordnance 
units, he reported, were accomplishing rela- 
tively little real maintenance work because 
they could not obtain spare parts from the 
responsible supply agencies. As a result, 
the troops were getting insufficient training. 
The number of deadlined vehicles in the 
divisions was slowly increasing, and the 
supply services were making little effective 
effort to forward the required spare parts 
from depot establishments. These and 
other deficiencies were, in the opinion of 
General Kingman, unfortunate from the 
point of view of both morale and training. 
Nor was the situation due to lack of ma- 
teriel. The French were at the time re- 
ceiving large amounts of spare parts, but 
they were having extreme difficulty in iden- 
tifying them and had little, if any, knowl- 
edge as to what echelon of maintenance 
the parts should be assigned. Units ap- 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: II 



131 



peared not to know what agency or author- 
ity they must look to for the satisfaction of 
their needs. Division ordnance officers had 
no definite idea where they should go to se- 
cure the required parts and no knowledge 
as to the exact location of depots. 2 

Already War Department officials in 
Washington had been receiving a "collec- 
tion of informal reports, rumors, and gos- 
sip," tending to show that the French were 
unable to absorb properly their U.S. mate- 
riel and were misusing some items. 3 In the 
opinion of General Spalding, then chair- 
man of the JRC, the facts as reported to 
Washington were probably exaggerated. 
True, there had been "certain accumula- 
tions," but the congestion was no more than 
could be expected under the circumstances. 
The French, he explained in a letter to a 
MAB official, were still having consider- 
able difficulty in obtaining space for their 
depots as the British and U.S. Armies were 
superimposed on the limited facilities avail- 
able in North Africa. 4 

Briefly, the inadequacy of the existing 
French supply system could be ascribed to 
two causes. First the supply services were 
handicapped by insufficient storage facilities, 
a matter soon to be remedied, for the U.S. 
Army was giving up considerable space 
especially at Casablanca. Second, their or- 
ganization, judged by American standards, 
was totally inadequate. In French Mo- 
rocco there was as yet no individual officer 
responsible for over-all supply and mainte- 
nance activity in connection with service 
installations, depots, and central stock con- 
trol in the area. No stock record cards were 
being kept of what was available in depots. 

2 Memo, Kingman for Spalding, 3 Sep 43, JRC 
333/001 Inspections — Misc. 

Ltr 5, Lt Col Roger Jones, MAB, to Spald- 
ing, 27 Aug 43, JRC 472 MAB. 

' Ltr, Spalding to Jones, 8 Oct 43, JRC 472 MAB. 



At the vehicle assembly plant in Casablanca, 
personnel rotated so rapidly that the estab- 
lishment of any efficient organization was 
impossible. Practically no use was made of 
the instruction literature sent along with the 
items ; it was often thrown away. Nor was 
the lack of a supply authority peculiar to 
French Morocco. JRC officials were con- 
vinced that no one in the French Army, 
either in Algiers or elsewhere, knew what 
materiel was available or where. They 
were told that division commanders were 
visiting depots for the purpose of helping 
themselves. ° 

The situation called for immediate correc- 
tive measures. In the opinion of General 
Kingman, the time had come for the Amer- 
icans to undertake a detailed survey of 
the entire French ordnance organization, 
then to assign qualified U.S. personnel to 
the French for the purpose of helping them 
establish a sound supply system within the 
shortest possible time." 

Endorsing General Kingman's views and 
recommendations, General Spalding re- 
solved to bring the whole matter up for the 
consideration of the French. Preferring for 
the moment not to approach the French 
General Staff officially, he invited Colonel 
Regnault to discuss informally with him and 
his assistant, Colonel Artamonoff , the exist- 
ing situation, as well as possible corrective 
measures. AFHQ officials, he pointed out, 
were eager to learn whether or not the 
French High Command contemplated 
adopting the U.S. ordnance system. There 
was some doubt on their part as to the in- 
terest shown by many officers of the Service 
du Materiel, or Ordnance Department, in 
Algiers regarding their functions. On the 
other hand, they were aware of the difficulty 

s Interv with Loomis, Sep 51. 
* Memo cited n. 2. 



132 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



the French services faced in finding sufficient 
qualified technicians to carry out their work 
properly. General Spalding then voiced his 
own and Colonel ArtamonofFs belief that it 
was highly desirable for the French High 
Command to reorganize its supply system 
or at least give it a shot in the arm by apply- 
ing the U.S. system "in its spirit." There 
was need, he observed, of building up the 
morale of Ordnance Department officers at 
all echelons. Theirs was an essential role. 
It was possible, concluded General Spald- 
ing, that the issuance by the French High 
Command of a general directive on the re- 
sponsibilities of the Ordnance Department 
could improve the situation if it were strin- 
gently enforced. 7 

Colonel Regnault immediately conveyed 
to General Leyer the American desire to see 
the French establish their own counterpart 
of the U.S. stock control section then func- 
tioning in Oran. Maj. Gen. Thomas B. 
Larkin, chief of SOS, NATO USA, had for 
some time urged the French to establish 
such a unit in Oran close to the U.S. section. 
The unit could serve a twofold purpose: 
provide centralized control of supplies and 
equipment, and prepare requisitions for the 
initial equipping of units or their mainte- 
nance after departure from North Africa. 
General Larkin recommended that the unit 
be operated by the French themselves with 
such assistance as might be necessary from 
qualified U.S. Army personnel." 

Official French reaction to the American 
proposal was mixed. The French wel- 
comed the opportunity to establish a stock 
control unit at Oran, but did not believe it 



7 Min Mtg, Spalding, Artamonoff, and Regnault, 
4 Sep 43, in Gen Regnault's private papers. 

8 Note 568, Regnault to Blanc, 13 Sep 43, in 
Gen Regnault's private papers ; Msg, Larkin to 
Devers, 14 Sep 43, AFHQ 0100/1 2C G-3 Div Ops 
Fr Rearmt. 



necessary to give up altogether the existing 
organization in Algiers. 9 In an effort to 
prod them into quick action, General Spald- 
ing took the matter up directly with the 
French General Staff. On 27 September 
he informed General Leyer that both the 
commanding general of SOS and the dep- 
uty theater commander considered the es- 
tablishment in Oran of a central stock con- 
trol unit for the French forces to be a ne- 
cessity. He then outlined the desirable com- 
position and responsibilities of such a unit 
as envisaged by SOS on the basis of experi- 
ence acquired through similar earlier un- 
dertakings. The unit should be composed 
of French officers and enlisted men having 
as much acquaintance as possible with U.S. 
materiel and with problems connected with 
requisitions, stock control, and related mat- 
ters. It should also include a small group 
of U.S. experts in questions of supply and 
requisitions to assist in setting up and op- 
erating the unit. General Spalding sug- 
gested a tentative ratio of one American to 
four French. He then recommended that 
the unit be established preferably in a build- 
ing adjacent to the office of SOS. In this 
manner, constant, close contact would be 
maintained with SOS in all matters per- 
taining to requisitioning of supplies and is- 
sue of items to expeditionary corps units. 
By the same token, unnecessary delays in 
the exchange of correspondence between 
Oran and Algiers would be avoided. In 
the past, such delays had often been the 
source of considerable annoyance. 10 

General Spalding's recommendation 
brought forth the desired result. The next 
day, 28 September, the French High Com- 
mand ordered the establishment in Oran of 

"Msg 6314, Devers to Larkin, 18 Sep 43, JRC 
400.2/002 Stock Control System. 

"Memo, Spalding for Leyer, 27 Sep 43, JRC 
400.2/002 Stock Control System. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: II 



133 



a central supply authority known as Service 
Central des Approvisionnements et Mate- 
riels Americains (SCAM A) . Its chief was 
to be an officer of French G— 4 responsible 
directly to the Chief of Staff. Because of 
limited personnel and material means, how- 
ever, serious difficulties were anticipated in 
setting up the unit. Nevertheless, French 
G— 4 was currently preparing a directive on 
its functioning and mission. 11 

The speedy establishment of SCAM A 
seemed essential at a time when the first 
expeditionary units were getting ready to 
leave for Italy. By the provisions of a plan 
then under consideration by Allied and 
French staffs, the French supply system and 
SOS, NATOUSA, were to share in the re- 
sponsibility for the supply and maintenance 
of these units. 1 " Effective implementation 
of the plan required that the French supply 
agencies be in a position at all times to pro- 
vide SOS with detailed information as to 
the quantities available in their depots for 
each type of supply. General Larkin was 
insistent that, in addition to organizing a 
central authority in Oran, the French estab- 
lish at once in Casablanca a competent ad- 
ministrative agency vested with sufficient 
authority to act with vigor and promptness 
in consolidating all French Army supply ac- 
tivity in Morocco. Unless this was done, 
he warned, the French supply headquar- 
ters would not have a stock provisioning 
system "in any sense of the term." 13 

The first of a series of instructions on 
stock control was issued by General Leyer 
on 15 October. It dealt with the organiza- 

11 Memos, Leyer for Spalding, 30 Sep 43, and 
Regnault for Spalding, 30 Sep 43, JRC 400.2/002 
Stock Control System. 

12 See below, rpp~738-39.| 

13 Msg L-6335, Larkin to Devers, 7 Oct 43, and 
Memo, Larkin for Hughes, 21 Oct 43, JRC 400.2/ 
001 Admin of Sup — Gen. 



tion and functioning of the newly created 
SCAMA. Initially, SCAMA was given the 
following mission : 

To keep the French High Command posted 
on the exact status of U.S. supplies and equip- 
ment of all types, and their distribution at the 
time, so that the Command can, with full 
knowledge of the facts, place orders with a 
view to satisfying, in the shortest possible time 
and under the best conditions, the needs of the 
units, and send to the U.S. authorities justi- 
fiable requisitions whenever necessary. 

Later on, "at a date yet to be fixed," 
SCAMA was to centralize material and fi- 
nancial accounting operations for all U.S. 
equipment. 14 

The instruction, although representing a 
step in the right direction, was wholly in- 
adequate. In the opinion of Col. Ira A. 
Crump, chief Ordnance officer of the JRC, 
its provisions were only half measures en- 
acted with little or no conviction of the real 
importance of the entire undertaking. Cen- 
tralization, he pointed out, was needed at 
once, not at a later date. He feared that 
the French military authorities did not real- 
ize the magnitude of the problem with re- 
spect to both volume of supplies to be han- 
dled and necessity of a rigid stock control, 
or else they were expecting the U.S. Army 
to assume part or all of their supply func- 
tions. It was all the more urgent, there- 
fore, to press them for a concrete supply plan 
of their own so that a definite basis for fu- 
ture requirements and assistance could be 
established. The current situation, he 
warned, was critical and likely to result in 
delaying the employment of French units. 15 

Colonel Crump's suspicion that the 
French military authorities were counting 
on assistance from U.S. Army supply and 

14 Instruction 3751/3/EMGG/4, 15 Oct 43, JRC 
400.2/002 Stoc k Con trol System. 

15 Memo cited | n. T] above. 



134 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



ordnance services merely confirmed the feel- 
ing that AFHQ had already gained as a 
result of the feud over French service units. 
The current lack of interest on the part of 
the French in reforming their supply sys- 
tem could be construed as one more indica- 
tion that they expected the U.S. Army to 
supply, service, and maintain their forces. 
Yet they had been repeatedly warned not 
to depend on such assistance and urged to 
work toward self-reliance by all possible 
means. In the opinion of AFHQ officials, 
the time had come to put them in a position 
where they must take energetic action. 

Writing to General Giraud on 20 Oc- 
tober, General Whiteley, Acting Chief of 
Staff, AFHQ, set forth in clear terms 
AFHQ's position on the matter of supply 
control. To make it possible for the Com- 
manding General, SOS, NATOUSA, to 
have accurate and timely information on 
the status of supply in French installations, 
the French Army was requested to estab- 
lish in Oran a central stock control group. 
This group was to maintain stock records 
and a central provisioning control on all 
classes of supply held by depots. Such con- 
trol was to be based on U.S. Army property 
accounting and supply control procedure. 
In addition, the French Army was requested 
to maintain at Headquarters, SOS, NA- 
TOUSA, a liaison group consisting of one 
senior grade officer, well-qualified and ex- 
perienced in supply matters and with suf- 
ficient authority to act for the French Com- 
mander in Chief on all supply problems, and 
of qualified officers for liaison duty with 
the various U.S. Army supply services. 
Finally, the French Army was to make avail- 
able upon the request of the Commanding 
General, SOS, NATOUSA, any necessary 
data to assure complete utilization of stocks 



on hand for the maintenance of French 
forces. 18 

This was no longer a suggestion but a 
firm request calling for General Giraud's 
early approval so as to enable AFHQ to 
issue final directives to the responsible Al- 
lied agencies. Five days later, on 25 Oc- 
tober, the French Commander in Chief sig- 
nified his agreement on the various points 
raised in General Whiteley's letter. 17 

Once again, as in the case of service units, 
the American concept that the French forces 
must achieve self-reliance had triumphed 
over the reluctance of the French to under- 
take what seemed to them an unnecessary 
and, in all likelihood, an almost impossible 
task considering the lack of qualified per- 
sonnel. 

The French General Staff had now no 
other alternative than to set up an ordnance 
system patterned after the American SOS. 
The success of such an undertaking re- 
quired, first of all, that supply officers at all 
echelons be fully convinced of the urgency 
of the proposed reorganization. That they 
were subsequently won over was largely be- 
cause of the efforts of Colonel Blanc, then 
Assistant Chief of Staff for both G-l and 
G-4. His energetic intervention succeeded 
in allaying the reluctance, indeed the hos- 
tility, shown by various heads of services to 
the projected reorganization. Colonel 
Blanc's own rallying to the American point 
of view had been the result of the convinc- 
ing interpretation which the French repre- 
sentatives on the JRC had given him of 
American views and procedures. Their ef- 
forts, coupled with the persistent yet tact- 
ful and friendly guidance offered by the 

K Ltr, Whiteley to Giraud, 20 Oct 43, AFHQ 
0100/4 SACS Red Sec, Fr Matters, Vol. I. 

17 Memo, Giraud for CinC Allied Forces, 25 Oct 
43, JRC 400.2/001 Admin of Sup — Gen. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: II 



135 



successive chairmen of the JRC from Col- 
onel Gardiner down to General Loomis, 
contributed much to bringing about the 
final meeting of French and American 
minds on the matter of supply organization. 

To assist the French in establishing a 
sound and efficient supply machinery and 
more generally to effect liaison with them on 
all supply matters, SOS, NATO USA, 
placed, beginning 4 October, trained per- 
sonnel at the disposal of SCAMA. The of- 
ficers and men so detailed soon formed a 
detachment known as Stock Control Section, 
JRC. Technically on duty with the JRC, 
the section, headed by Col. Michael J. 
Geraghty, acted as a link between SOS, 
SCAMA, and the JRC. 18 

The early history of SCAMA was marked 
by unparalleled confusion. 1 " For some 
weeks nothing seemed to get done. But the 
job was tremendous. SCAMA had to deal 
with literally hundreds of depots, small ware- 
houses, and storage annexes scattered 
throughout French North Africa and in- 
dividually responsible to one of several au- 
thorities. Among these was an organiza- 
tion known as Centre de Reception des Ma- 
teriels Americains (CRMA), set up in the 
spring of 1 943 in Casablanca. It controlled 
all supplies of American origin and was 
largely responsible for their distribution. 
However, it was not co-ordinated in any way 
with the French Supply Services, which con- 
cerned themselves primarily with materiel 
of French source, and it maintained ware- 
houses separate from those of the services. 
Controlled from Algiers, CRMA worked in 

1S For details on the composition, evolution, and 
technical operation of SCAMA and of Stock Con- 
trol Section, sce |pp. below. 

"'History of Stock Control Section, JRC, n. d.. 
copy in JRC files ; Memo. Geraghty for Loomis, sub: 
Rpt of Stock Control Sec, 8 Jul 44, JRC 400.2/002 
Stock Control System. 



conjunction with a special branch of the 
General Staff which had been established 
in Casablanca for the purpose of getting 
American equipment into the hands of units. 
CRMA kept no stock record accounts. The 
other agency at least kept a card for each 
unit being rearmed. But the card listed 
only the major items issued; no entry was 
made of accessories, tools, spare parts, basic 
loads, allowances of all categories, and 
individual expendable equipment. Still 
another branch of the General Staff, func- 
tioning in Oran and apparently working in- 
dependently of the Casablanca branch, was 
responsible for building up stocks of mainte- 
nance supplies for the units preparing to go 
overseas. 

The confusion created by two sets of de- 
pots was evident everywhere. Service de- 
pots, which frequently received supplies as 
an overflow from CRMA depots, were ac- 
tually issuing to units items of equipment 
no one had any record of having received. 
Little attempt was being made in either cate- 
gory of depots to account for supplies on 
hand and very few records of stocks were 
available anywhere. Such a chaotic situa- 
tion emphasized the urgent need of setting 
up SCAMA as the central authority in ac- 
counting, recording, and stock reporting. 

The lack of qualified personnel served 
only to aggravate the confusion. Scarcity 
of personnel can best be appreciated when 
it is realized that, as late as the end of No- 
vember 1943, one officer with no assistance 
whatsoever was handling the Casablanca 
Pharmacy, a medical depot somewhat sim- 
ilar to the U.S. Medical Issue Warehouse.- 
For several months the manpower problem 
remained a serious one. Men assigned to 

Memo, Lt Col A. T. Maxwell, Atlantic Base 
Sec, for Larkin, 27 Nov 43, JRC 400.2/002 Stock 
Control System. 



136 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



SCAMA by the French General Staff were 
untrained and often untrainable, for they 
included a substantial proportion of natives 
unwanted elsewhere and generally ignorant 
of the French language — in short, of a type 
unsatisfactory even as common laborers. 

Lack of physical means was equally 
acute. Warehouse equipment, transporta- 
tion, tools, and covered space were insuffi- 
cient. Depots even lacked such office sup- 
plies as pencils, typewriters, carbon paper, 
stationery, forms, and filing cabinets. They 
were using school tablets and scraps of 
paper on which to record stocks. Their re- 
ports to chiefs of services in Algiers or to 
CRMA were made largely by telephone in 
the absence of other means. Providing 
them with a minimum of essential supplies 
proved at first difficult because SOS was 
forbidden by NATOUSA from issuing any- 
thing to the French without special author- 
ity in each case. In mid-October a special 
initial authorization from NATOUSA en- 
abled SOS to turn over to the depots such 
stationery and office supplies as were in 
excess of its own needs. On 4 November 
NATOUSA approved issue to SCAMA of 
200,000 U.S. stock record cards. Within 
a short time, SCAMA was receiving Ameri- 
can catalogues, standard nomenclature lists, 
tables of organization, tables of equipment, 
and many other useful publications. It was 
also able to obtain on loan freight-handling 
equipment. 

Other difficulties hampered the setting up 
of SCAMA, such as language differences 
and the frequent impossibility of reconciling 
French nomenclature as given by ware- 
houses with that used in American cata- 
logues or standard nomenclature lists. 
And then there were differences in national 
idiosyncrasies. The easygoing North 
African natives were not always ready to 



adopt the American practice of getting 
things done in a hurry. 

More disquieting, especially to Colonel 
Geraghty who was determined to see the 
reorganization project through, was the fact 
that SCAMA, after two months of existence, 
was still without anything but a very gen- 
eral statement of what it was to accomplish. 
It had no official standing or place within 
the French military organization. Three 
successive directives had failed to vest in 
SCAMA the authority needed to effect real 
centralization. Its director, Col. Emile 
Charpentier, although regarded by his 
American colleagues as highly qualified for 
the position he held, could not prevent in- 
dividual supply services from frequently dis- 
regarding his orders. 

With SCAMA unable to assert itself 
speedily and effectively, the general French 
supply situation was bound to deteriorate 
further. First to suffer were the troops 
about to depart or already en route for Italy 
with incomplete equipment. Their predica- 
ment, General Larkin pointed out on 13 
November, was indicative of a complete 
failure of the supply system; the failure 
precluded any substantial support of the ex- 
peditionary forces from French sources. 
There was no solution but for the U.S. Army 
to assume the entire maintenance respon- 
sibility until such time as the French them- 
selves knew what they had and where it 
was. 21 Thereupon General Larkin re- 
quested and obtained from General Eisen- 
hower the authorization to inspect depots 
for the purpose of assisting French supply 
officers in locating items needed by units 
about to depart, and if necessary to remove 
and ship any items so found to appropriate 

: 'Msg L-9908, Larkin to NATOUSA, 13 Nov 
43, JRC Cable Log. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: II 



137 



destinations. 2 " After he had inspected sup- 
ply installations in Casablanca, General 
Larkin reported that supplies were being 
"dissipated through absence of centralized 
control." He warned that maintenance by 
the French of their forces would be ex- 
tremely difficult under the present "loose" 
organization. He urged once again that 
SCAMA be given sufficient authority to en- 
able it to carry out its mission. 2 ' 1 

It was not until 9 January 1944 that the 
French General Staff, rescinding all prior 
instructions, issued a new one that greatly 
extended SCAMA's authority in the sup- 
ply field. Many of the administrative re- 
strictions which in the past had proved 
harmful were now removed. Thereafter 
SCAMA was: 

1. to furnish to the French High Com- 
mand, whenever called upon to do so, the 
exact status of all stocks of materiel and sup- 
ply of all kinds; and to do this in such a man- 
ner as would permit the French High Com- 
mand to arrange for the best use of available 
stocks and to prepare requisitions for sub- 
mission to the United States; 

2. to ensure the proper execution of the 
High Command's decisions relative to both 
initial equipping of troops and their main- 
tenance ; 

3. to maintain close liaison with SOS 
NATOUSA with a view to settling quickly 
all questions of shipping or transfer of 
supplies. 24 

To SCAMA's director, Colonel Charpen- 
tier, the instruction delegated specific au- 
thority over organization and function. Ac- 

" Msgs L-40, Larkin to CG NATOUSA, 14 No\ 
43, 1752, Eisenhower to Larkin, 16 Nov 43, and 
L-773, Larkin to CG NATOUSA, 22 Nov 43, JRC 
Cable Log. 

23 Msgs L-2271, Larkin to CG NATOUSA, 5 
Dec 43, L-2459, Larkin to JRC, 6 Dec 43, and 
L-2805, Larkin to JRC, 9 Dec 43, JRC 400.2/002 
Stock Control System. 

21 Instruction 340, EMGG/4, 9 Jan 44, JRC 
400.2/002 Stock Control System. 



tually, organization was not designed by the 
director, but was thrust upon him by the 
manner in which activities, previously op- 
erating independently, were associated, one 
by one, with his office. The higher com- 
mand still seemed reluctant to grant the nec- 
essary absolute authority. SCAMA found 
itself repeatedly hampered by official inter- 
ference. A case in point was the Casa- 
blanca Base. The French High Command 
had placed all military bases established in 
the ports of embarkation and debarkation 
under SCAMA control, either directly or 
through representatives. Yet the same com- 
mand did not hesitate to infringe on 
SCAMA's authority by organizing the 
Casablanca Base and naming its director. 
As a result, the base became a source of con- 
stant confusion. 

Another unsatisfactory feature of the 9 
January instruction was that it contained 
several ambiguous phrases and loose terms 
which subsequently gave rise to a number 
of misunderstandings. As late as March 
1944 some French agencies were still trying 
to bypass SCAMA in submitting requisi- 
tions. Greatly disturbed over this situa- 
tion, Colonel Geraghty feared that, unless 
corrective measures were applied without 
delay, SCAMA's brave efforts would be 
futile. 

It is interesting to note that, whereas 
SCAMA remained under the effective con- 
trol of the French General Staff, at no time 
was the American Stock Control Section, 
JRC, the subject of a single order from 
higher U.S. authority. In fact it had no of- 
ficial existence. Even its name was as- 
sumed, having merely been approved by the 
chairman of the JRC Colonel Geraghty 
had been given free hand in running his 
section as he deemed best. He determined 
its internal organization, issued the neces- 



138 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



sary instructions, and detailed his person- 
nel with a view to providing the French 
with the maximum assistance. He suc- 
ceeded in developing a highly efficient sys- 
tem by which French and American tech- 
nicians were put to work together. This 
collaboration ultimately made possible the 
setting up of a sound supply system. To en- 
sure its spread to French depots and in- 
stallations in other areas, Stock Control Sec- 
tion later opened branch offices in Algiers 
and Casablanca (February 1944) and in 
Tunis (May 1944). 

In spite of its many handicaps and short- 
comings, SCAMA began to grow in stature 
and efficiency, largely through the excellent 
co-operation between its personnel and that 
of Stock Control Section. Recognizing its 
increasing importance in the supply sys- 
tem, the French General Staff gradually as- 
signed to it additional qualified members, 
both military and civilian. Numbering 
some 20 officers and 20 civilians at the end 
of October, SCAMA could boast, two 
months later, a total strength of 320 per- 
sons, including 65 senior and junior officers, 
70 enlisted men, and 1 85 civilian employees. 
Issuance of the 9 January instruction defi- 
nitely accelerated progress by providing the 
necessary spur. Colonels Geraghty and 
Charpentier prepared and issued a pam- 
phlet for use by the services as a sort of text- 
book on all supply matters. By mid-Janu- 
ary they had printed and were distributing 
some three million forms which standard- 
ized procedures and made possible "a com- 
mon language and a common meeting 
ground for supply interests throughout the 
Services." An instruction issued by Colonel 
Charpentier on 26 January set forth the re- 
lations to be established between the various 
echelons of SCAMA, and prescribed the 
forms to be used throughout the entire sup- 



ply system. 2 ' By this time some progress 
could be noted in the preparation of stock 
record accounts and in the reporting of 
stocks to SCAMA. It was apparent that the 
recasting of the French supply system had 
passed the planning stage: the "house of 
SCAMA" was about to enter the final 
phase of its organization. 

Supply and Maintenance of the 
Expeditionary Forces 

Efficient and timely re-equipping of units 
was not the only benefit expected from the 
reorganization of the French supply sys- 
tem. It was hoped in addition that the 
French military authorities would be better 
able to supply and maintain their forces in 
combat, another responsibility which had 
become theirs as a result of the broad appli- 
cation of the concept of self-reliance. 

The development of a supply plan for 
forces in the field began to receive consid- 
erable attention in August 1943 when the 
decision was reached to use French units 
in Italy. The basic policy as set forth by 
Headquarters, NATOUSA, was that 
French troops, from the moment they de- 
parted from North Africa, passed from the 
supply control of the French General Staff 
to that of Fifth Army. 2 " Fifth Army's re- 
sponsibility in the matter was limited, how- 
ever. It consisted merely in ensuring the 
continuous flow of maintenance supplies 
into the hands of the French units under its 
control. The French military authorities 
themselves were charged with providing 

" Instruction 43/D, SCAMA, 26 Jan 44, in His- 
tory of Stock Control Section, JRC, copy in JRC 
files. 

M Msg 390, CG NATOUSA to CG SOS 
NATOUSA, 12 Aug 43, JRC 400.4/003 'Mainte- 
nance for Forces Operating With Fifth Army. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: II 



139 



from their own sources, be they of French, 
American, or other origin, a determined 
number of equipment items. SOS, acting 
as the supply agent for Fifth Army, was 
responsible for making certain that all the 
necessary items were made available from 
French sources, or, if necessary, from U.S. 
sources pending reimbursement by the 
French, and for effecting their transporta- 
tion to the theater of operations. Its role 
was far from negligible and its position be- 
tween provider and consumer a thankless 
one. In the last analysis, however, it was 
on the French General Staff that the chief 
responsibility fell for furnishing the main- 
tenance supplies for the expeditionary 
forces. 

There remained the task of determining 
with accuracy the division of responsibility 
among the three authorities concerned — 
the French General Staff, SOS, and Fifth 
Army — and of taking adequate steps to 
make certain that each was carrying out its 
respective share of the combined operation. 
This led to a long series of discussions, con- 
ferences, and studies. 

At a preliminary conference, held at 
AFHQ on 29 September 1943, the en- 
tire question of the supply of French ex- 
peditionary forces was examined. The 
conference, attended by representatives 
from the JRC, SOS, the Fifth Army, and 
the French Supply Services, emphasized 
two important points. The first was the 
need for the French authorities to submit, in 
ample time, requisitions on the United 
States, through the JRC, for the assignment 
to them of items not currently available in 
their stocks. Second, it was urgent for 
them to accelerate the setting up of the pro- 
posed SCAMA system then under consid- 
eration in order to guarantee the speedy 



and continuous flow of supplies to the ex- 
peditionary forces. 27 

Three weeks later, General Whiteley, 
Deputy Chief of Staff, AFHQ, submitted to 
General Giraud for his concurrence a plan 
covering all aspects of the supply problem, 
including completion of initial equipment, 
transportation of troops and materiel, and 
maintenance of forces in combat. The rec- 
ommended policy with respect to mainte- 
nance envisaged the following division of re- 
sponsibility : Fifth Army was to submit to 
SOS separate requisitions for the mainte- 
nance of French units under its control; 
SOS was to fill such requisitions by placing 
calls upon the French military authorities; 
the latter were to deliver the required items 
from stocks available to them or made avail- 
able to them through the JRC.- 8 

The French Commander in Chief having 
concurred in the proposal, AFHQ, on 29 
October, issued a directive officially charg- 
ing SOS, NATOUSA, with the responsi- 
bility for the mounting and maintenance of 
the French forces operating with the Fifth 
Army in accordance with the provisions sub- 
mitted to General Giraud. AFHQ stipu- 
lated, in addition, that essential supplies 
which definitely could not be furnished from 
French resources would be provided from 
U.S. stocks if available, such issues to be 
reported and accounted for in accordance 
with established procedures. The French 
were, of course, to reimburse SOS for the 
items so transferred as soon as practicable. 21 ' 

The success of the supply plan was de- 

" Min, Conf on Sup of CEF, 29 Sep 43, JRC 
400.1/009 Sup of Forces Designated for Combat. 

^Ltr, Whiteley to Giraud, 20 Oct 43, AFHQ 
0100/4 SACS Red Sec, Fr Matters, Vol. I. 

20 Ltrs, Giraud to CinC Allied Forces, 25 Oct 43, 
and AG 381/399 D-O, Hq NATOUSA to CG SOS 
NATOUSA, 29 Oct 43, JRC 400.2/001 Admin of 
Sup — Gen. 



140 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



pendent in a large measure on the extent 
to which units would manage to complete 
their initial equipment before embarking. 
General Whiteley had made this point clear 
to General Giraud when he requested that 
departing troops be "completely equipped 
to authorized allowances under current 
tables for equivalent organizations of the 
U.S. Army." Yet, a week later, it was 
learned that the French military authorities 
proposed to embark their first division, the 
2d Moroccan Infantry, with what appeared 
to be insufficient winter equipment, such as 
one coat or one field jacket instead of both 
items per man, one pair of trousers instead 
of two, two blankets instead of three, and 
so on. At the request of General Clark, 
Commanding General, U.S. Fifth Army, 
AFHQ impressed upon the French General 
Staff the desirability of equipping units in 
accordance with prescribed Fifth Army ad- 
ministrative instructions. 30 

In spite of the warning, it was reported a 
few days later that the same division had 
embarked almost completely lacking in 
basic load requirements of maintenance 
parts and accessories and short of major 
items of equipment, including twenty-two 
57-mm. guns. Furthermore, when the di- 
vision reached Italy, an inspection revealed 
serious shortages, by Fifth Army standards, 
of winter clothing and equipment. This 
prompted General Clark to request AFHQ 
that he be authorized to issue to the division 
additional blankets and warm clothing on 
the same basis as for U.S. troops. In fact, 
without waiting for an answer from Algiers, 
he ordered the emergency issue of these 
items. 31 



3,1 Msg 4192. Fifth Army to CinC, 27 Oct 43, JRC 
Cable Log. 

" Msgs' L-9908, Larkin to CG NATOUSA, 13 
Nov 43, 5732, Fifth Army to CG AFHQ, 18 Dec 



Investigation showed that the unit in 
question had received its normal allowance 
of winter equipment but not the additional 
items which troops in Fifth Army had been 
issued under special authorization from 
NATOUSA. The French High Com- 
mand, although urged to take similar steps, 
had for reasons of its own deemed it un- 
necessary to issue winter equipment over 
and above the rates prescribed under the 
current AFHQ tables of allowances. As for 
the shortages of major items, maintenance 
parts, and accessories, it was discovered that 
the division commander and the French 
General Staff had been working on different 
tables of organization. NATOUSA imme- 
diately brought the matter to the attention 
of General Leyer with a view to preventing 
a recurrence of the situation. 32 

The confusion surrounding the equip- 
ment of the 2d DIM underlined a grave 
weakness in the Allied command structure. 
From the time the French in North Africa 
had joined the Allies in November 1942. 
they had been in a peculiar position in which 
their military establishment functioned par- 
allel to the Anglo-American administrative 
system, but was at no point, except in the 
field, fully part of it. This being so, they 
could be urged, or requested, to take cer- 
tain measures, but the Allied command was 
wholly dependent on voluntary acquies- 
cence on their part. They considered them- 
selves free, to a large degree, to decide 
whether the equipment standards as estab- 
lished by non-French commands, such as 
Fifth Army headquarters, were practicable 
or desirable for their own troops. They 
could, and they did, modify U.S. tables of 

43, and 5753, Fifth Army to CG AFHQ, 20 Dec 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 

32 Msgs 2733, CG NATOUSA to Larkin, 18 Nov 
43, and 17842, CG NATOUSA to Fifth Army, 22 
Dec 43, JRC Cable Log. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME. II 



141 



equipment to fit what they considered the 
particular needs of their forces. 33 

To make sure, therefore, that equipment 
standards of French units operating under 
American control approached the U.S. 
counterparts as closely as possible, the ut- 
most co-operation was required between all 
responsible authorities before the embarka- 
tion of troops. Once the troops were in the 
theater of operations, the issuance of initial 
equipment to fill shortages or emergency 
needs entailed a labyrinthine process of 
requisitioning. If General Juin wished an 
additional issue of initial equipment, such 
as winter clothing items for the 2d DIM, 
his corps G-4 submitted the prescribed 
requisition to Fifth Army supply sections for 
clearance and transmission to SOS, NA- 
TOUSA. There the French liaison officer, 
Lt. Col. A. Dufourt, prepared appropriate 
lists which he forwarded to the French Gen- 
eral Staff for examination, first by G-4, then 
by Rearmament Section. Once approved 
by the French General Staff, the lists were 
sent to the French Section of the JRC for 
submission to the committee, then for- 
warded to NATOUSA for final decision. 
Only in "dire emergency" cases was Colonel 
Dufourt authorized to bypass the French 
General Staff altogether and request SOS 
to transmit requisitions to the JRC or to 
G-4, NATOUSA, for action. 31 

In spite of French urgings that the exist- 
ing channels of communications be simpli- 
fied, NATOUSA maintained that these 
channels were not unduly cumbersome and 
that they must be adhered to. The position 
taken by NATOUSA was in accordance 

33 Ltr, Giraud to Allied CinC, 25 Oct 43, JRC 
400.4/003 Maintenance for Forces Operating With 
Fifth Army. 

34 Memos, Regnault for Spalding, 10 Oct 43, and 
Spalding for Leyer, 11 Oct 43, JRC 400.2/001 
Admin of Sup — Gen. 



with War Department instructions, which 
restricted to operational emergency cases 
the authority of a theater to transfer supplies 
to a foreign government without prior ap- 
proval from the MAB. 33 As supplies so 
transferred were later to be replaced in U.S. 
stocks by the foreign government concerned, 
the theater was under obligation to ensure 
proper and accurate accounting of all trans- 
actions. Consequently, the procedure 
adopted by NATOUSA whereby all re- 
quests from the French forces under U.S. 
control had to be cleared and approved by 
both the French General Staff and NA- 
TOUSA was a logical one. In addition 
and equally important, such a procedure 
would tend to prevent wastage in the form 
of needless expenditures of materiel. 
French supplies, largely of American origin, 
were not expendable any more than stocks 
available to U.S. troops. Sound utiliza- 
tion of resources mattered as much as speed 
of delivery. 

Yet complete observance of the estab- 
lished policy frequently proved impossible. 
Many cases arose in which operational 
needs required the issue of equipment to 
French forces engaged in combat "without 
regard to strict adherence to the finer points 
of Lend-Lease bookkeeping." 36 Eager to 
set the record straight on the matter, AFHQ, 
on 14 January 1944, informed General 
Clark that the action he had taken in De- 
cember in issuing additional winter equip- 
ment to the 2d DIM was contrary to the 
established policy. 

It must be emphasized that the initial issue 
of organizational and individual equipment 
must occur in North Africa from stocks made 
available to the French under the rearma- 



35 Msg 859, Marshall to Eisenhower, 26 Oct 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 

36 Ltr, Loomis to Col George Olmstead, 1 1 Dec 
43, JRC 908 Policy and Plan — Misc. 



142 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



ment program prior to the embarkation of 
French units for Italy. . . . Where Fifth 
Army administrative instructions contain 
prescriptions which can be met by supplies 
available in North Africa to the French Army, 
the French authorities will be advised to com- 
ply therewith. 37 

In the meantime, NATOUSA had taken 
steps to effect closer co-operation between 
the various Allied command and supply 
echelons on the matter of initial equipment 
loads. Such co-operation was indispensable 
if confusion and discrepancies were to be 
avoided in the future. When Fifth Army 
instructions or tables of equipment were at 
variance with those given earlier to the 
French by the JRC, NATOUSA officials 
undertook to bring the three interested par- 
ties together to solve the problems involved. 
They also urged the French General Staff 
once again to verify the completeness of 
equipment in the hands of units before em- 
barkation and requested General Kingman's 
French Training Section to give full as- 
sistance in this connection. Finally, they 
asked the JRC to expedite the preparation 
of requisitions for shortages of equipment 
as these were reported. 38 

The objective of the supply plan, as put in 
force on 29 October 1943, could be reached 
only if the French military authorities were 
in a position to make available to SOS, on 
call from the latter or in execution of agreed 
schedules, the supplies required for the 
maintenance of their expeditionary forces 
in Italy. This, incidentally, was only one 
of their maintenance commitments. They 
were also responsible for maintaining all 
troops while in training, forces employed 
under operational control other than Amer- 

"Msg 28417, CinC AFHQ to Fifth Army, 14 
Jan 44, JRC Cable Log. 

39 Msgs 6765, Eisenhower to CG SOS NA- 
TOUSA, 5 Nov 43, and L-9158, Larkin to CG 
NATOUSA, 5 Nov 43, JRC Cable Log. 



ican (such as the units which the French 
High Command itself had committed to the 
liberation of Corsica in September 1943), 
all Territorial and Sovereignty troops, and 
zone of interior establishments. To carry 
out these heavy and varied assignments, 
which the concept of self-reliance as im- 
posed on the French had forced them to 
assume, required that they establish and 
maintain considerable stocks of supplies of 
all types, readily available on a moment's 
notice, for the support of any of their forces. 

AFHQ had long urged the French to ac- 
cumulate adequate reserves of both Ameri- 
can and locally procured supplies. By the 
fall of 1943 the Americans had the distinct 
feeling that their urgings had not been 
heeded, possibly because the French were 
placing undue dependence on U.S. theater 
stocks as a reserve. On 7 September Gen- 
eral Spalding, chairman of the JRC, warned 
General Leyer that "such a source could 
not be taken for granted in the future." He 
then proposed a number of measures which, 
if carried out by the French, would enable 
them to make their Military Establishment 
self-sufficient. With regard to foodstuffs, 
he recommended that the responsible au- 
thorities exploit North African resources and 
take energetic steps to increase production 
to the maximum. He suggested that they 
prepare a monthly food program and, in 
case of shortages, make arrangements to 
obtain the rest from U.S. sources. As for 
ammunition and all authorized expendable 
items of American equipment, he urged that 
they maintain adequate reserves either under 
their control or available to them in U.S. 
theater stockages, these to be supported by 
a flow of supplies from the United States. 
This operation would require the early 
establishment, after detailed study, of a 
sound plan carefully co-ordinated with 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: II 



143 



American and British programs and involve 
the submission by the French of regular 
monthly requisitions on the United States 
for maintaining stocks at established levels. 
In reply, General Leyer announced that a 
food program of the sort recommended by 
General Spalding was in preparation and 
that the responsible military as well as 
civilian authorities had already taken steps 
to increase the production of certain food 
items both in North Africa and in other 
French territories. He announced further 
that, beginning 1 October, the French Gen- 
eral Staff would forward monthly requisi- 
tions for the procurement of U.S. supplies, 
such as ammunition and other expendable 
items. A fortnight later, in the course of 
a meeting with General Leyer, General 
Spalding again broached the food question 
which, he reiterated, required very serious 
consideration in view especially of heavy de- 
mands on U.S. foodstuffs for Soviet and 
British troops. 39 

The French were to submit to the JRC 
for necessary action requisitions for all pur- 
poses except emergency issues. The requi- 
sitions were designed to make possible the 
establishment and operation of a 45-day 
reserve of supplies for the maintenance of 
units dispatched overseas. It soon became 
evident that the paper work involved was 
posing for the French insurmountable dif- 
ficulties. SCAMA was making so little 
progress that, even at the end of December, 
it had no accurate information as to the 
actual supplies on hand and was unable to 
determine what items it should requisition. 
To make matters worse, SOS reported, on 
1 January, that the French military authori- 

'"' Memo, Spalding for Leyer, 7 Sep 43, Memo, 
Leyer for Spalding, 17 Sep 43, and Aide Mdmoire, 
Spalding for Leyer, 2 Oct 43, JRC 908 Policy and 
Plan — Misc. 



ties had replaced in U.S. theater stocks less 
than 50 percent of the maintenance items 
advanced as an initial stockpile to their ex- 
peditionary forces in Italy. SOS blamed 
their failure to do so on SCAMA's inability 
to complete the required 45-day supply re- 
serve, a fact which emphasized, once again, 
the urgent need for a more efficient French 
supply system. General Larkin feared that 
the situation, if allowed to continue, would 
result in a considerable drain upon U.S. 
Army reserves since SOS was required to 
make up for any deficiencies in the French 
deliveries. 40 

By this time, experience gained from the 
presence of French units in Italy had shown 
that the existing system of channeling sup- 
plies from the United States to North Afri- 
can depots for reshipment to the combat 
zone increased movement and accounting 
operations unnecessarily. In an attempt to 
simplify the procedure, SOS had recom- 
mended earlier in November that Peninsular 
Base Section (PBS) in Naples be given the 
responsibility for maintaining the French 
Expeditionary Corps, and that the French 
military authorities be required in turn to 
effect replacements in American depots in 
North Africa from a stockpile established by 
them for this purpose. Thus no shipments, 
except of rations and special items obtain- 
able only from French sources, would be 
made to Italy for the supply of the CEF, 
nor would any lend-lease accounting be nec- 
essary in Italy. 41 The proposal, a sound 
one, had been submitted to the various 
NATOUSA staff sections then considering 

40 Msg W-8584/19360, Eisenhower to AGWAR, 
26 Dec 43, CM-IN 16426; Msg L-5742, Larkin 
to JRC, 1 Jan 44, and Memo, Larkin for Loomis, 
13 Jan 44, JRC 400.4/003 Maintenance for Forces 
Operating With Fifth Army. 

"Memo, DCofS SOS for CG NATOUSA, 28 
Nov 43, JRC 400.4/003, Maintenance for Forces 
Operating With Fifth Army. 



144 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



steps to improve conditions. The ills which 
it sought to correct, however, were minor in 
comparison with others. So damaging were 
these that the entire supply plan as estab- 
lished on 29 October had become an un- 
workable arrangement. 

In a long message to the War Department 
on 26 December, NATOUSA outlined the 
basic weaknesses of the plan in its current 
form. The chaotic situation of the French 
supply system made it impossible for the 
French military authorities to make avail- 
able to SOS the supplies which they were 
expected to furnish for their expeditionary 
forces. It would, in addition, prevent them 
from preparing and submitting proper 
requisitions in time to provide any assist- 
ance, from the supply standpoint, toward 
the mounting of Operation Anvil. NA- 
TOUSA then recommended a sweeping 
change of policy: the responsibility for sub- 
mitting requisitions for the procurement of 
equipment and supplies necessary for the 
maintenance of French units participating 
in operations under U.S. control should be 
assumed by SOS, no longer by the French. 
Otherwise, the large French force desig- 
nated for participation in Anvil would not 
be properly supplied. 42 

War Department officials immediately 
endorsed NATOUSA's proposal with minor 
modifications. On 16 January 1944, after 
further discussions on the matter between 
the War Department and the theater, SOS 
issued a new directive on the maintenance 
of French expeditionary forces. 43 Drafted 
after consultation with and approval by 
General. Giraud, the directive was appli- 
cable to forces specifically operating under 

"Msg W-8584/19360 cited l n. 40.1 

43 Cir 7, SOS NATOUSA, sub: SOP on Sup and 
Maintenance of Fr Forces, 16 Jan 44, JRC 
400.4/003 Maintenance for Forces Operating With 
Fifth Army. 



U.S. control whether, as then, in Italy or 
in future operations in continental France. 
It set forth in detail the latest policy with 
regard to the provision of both initial equip- 
ment and maintenance supplies. 

Initial equipment was to be provided to 
the greatest extent possible from stocks sup- 
plied the French through the rearmament 
program. Only when items were unobtain- 
able from such sources, was the Command- 
ing General, NATOUSA, empowered to 
authorize their issue from U.S. theater stocks 
to the extent available and without jeop- 
ardy to the proper supply of U.S. forces. 
All items so transferred to complete initial 
equipment were charged against the French 
lend-lease account in North Africa. As for 
equipment and supplies required for main- 
tenance of troops in operation, these were, 
with some exceptions, provided by SOS 
through the submission to the New York 
Port of Embarkation of single consolidated 
monthly requisitions for both French and 
U.S. troops. Levels of supply furnished 
were those authorized for the U.S. forces, 
and combat maintenance provided was 
computed on U.S. Army replacement fac- 
tors. Food rations, ammunition, post ex- 
change, and Special Services supplies were 
excepted from these regulations. 44 

Rations were provided partly from U.S. 
sources, partly from French sources, as in 
the case of items peculiar to the French 
menu, in accordance with agreements 
reached between NATOUSA and the 
French General Staff. Post exchange and 
Special Services supplies were provided en- 
tirely by the French. Ammunition was sup- 
plied from U.S. stocks in North Africa to 
the extent available, and the remainder 

" The question of rations, post exchange, and 
Sp ecial Services supplies is treated at some length 
in phapter XVIj below. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: II 



145 



obtained from the United States through 
consolidated requisitions for both French 
and U.S. troops. The French Supply Serv- 
ices were required to replace in U.S. depots, 
from stocks available to them, the supplies 
(food, post exchange items, and other ma- 
terials) which it was their responsibility to 
provide for the maintenance of participating 
French units. All items furnished by SOS 
either by direct shipment from the United 
States or from U.S. stocks in the theater, and 
not replaced by the French Supply Services, 
were charged against the lend-lease account. 

The directive contained other important 
provisions concerning the handling of ma- 
teriel intended for the expeditionary forces. 
Supplies furnished from French sources 
were delivered by the French Army to ship- 
side or to U.S. depots as requested by SOS, 
and were loaded aboard ship and discharged 
by the U.S. Army, with French assistance 
if required. The French liaison group at 
SOS headquarters was charged with ensur- 
ing that complete utilization was being 
made of French stocks for the maintenance 
of French forces. To this end, it obtained 
from SCAMA periodic reports of supplies 
on hand in French depots. 

The advantages gained from the appli- 
cation of the new plan were many and sub- 
stantial. Supplies were now reaching the 
base serving the expeditionary forces by di- 
rect shipment from the United States or, in 
the case of a relatively small percentage, by 
shipment from North African ports, thus 
saving much valuable time and shipping. 
More important yet, it now was almost cer- 
tain that the expeditionary forces would re- 
ceive in due time all the supplies necessary 
for their continued support. To make cer- 
tain that French and Allied agencies re- 
sponsible for the mounting of Anvil clearly 
understood the details of the new policy, 



a letter on the subject, which AFHQ ad- 
dressed to General Giraud on 1 1 February 
in the name of the Supreme Allied Com- 
mander, was made the basis of an official 
directive. -15 

In execution of the new policy, SOS, 
NATOUSA, immediately assumed the re- 
sponsibility for preparing and submitting, 
with French assistance, requisitions for the 
supplies which had to be obtained from 
U.S. sources for the maintenance of all 
French forces then, or destined to be, part 
of an American task force. The French 
continued to be responsible for preparing 
and submitting requisitions for the main- 
tenance of all other forces, and for short- 
ages of initial equipment. Subsequently 
they were urged to consider the submission 
of requisitions for the replenishment of 
equipment in the hands of units engaged 
in combat for some length of time. This 
matter was expected to present a problem 
of considerable scope in the not too dis- 
tant future. 48 

A sound supply plan for the maintenance 
of French expeditionary forces was now a 
reality. Its establishment, incidentally, 
was being effected at a time when the 
drafting of a workable rearmament plan 
(the 23 January Plan) was about to be 
completed. In the last analysis, much of 
the direction for the supply and mainte- 
nance of French troops was now to rest 
in American hands. This was in line with 
recommendations from War Department 
officials who had come to the conclusion 
and strongly urged that, in the theater, 
"American management should follow 



* s Ltr, Wilson to Giraud, 1 1 Feb 44, JRG 400.4/ 
003 Maintenance for Forces Operating With Fifth 
Army-Dir, AFHQ, AG 400-1 (Fr), 11 Feb 44, sub: 
Sup and Maintenance of Fr Forces. 

"Memos, Loomis for Leyer, 15, 22 Jan 44, JRC 
400.1/009 Sup of Forces Designated for Combat. 



146 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



American equipment," Such a course of 
action, they believed, was a sound devel- 
opment in the lend-lease program and the 
time was opportune to put it into effect. 47 

Supplies reached the CEF in Italy 
through Peninsular Base Section, set up in 
Naples on 1 November 1943 for the sup- 
port of the U.S. Fifth Army. Long before 
the arrival of the first North African unit, 
it had been agreed that the French mili- 
tary authorities would assume their share of 
the responsibility for the operation of PBS. 
As early as October, Generals Juin and 
Clark decided that French Base 901 , already 
activated in North Africa, would join PBS 
in Naples, there to serve as the supply or- 
ganization for CEF. Accordingly, an ad- 
vance detachment from that base was dis- 
patched to Naples where, on 22 November, 
it set up shop in the office of PBS. 48 
Just then the first division, the 2d DIM, 
was on its way to the front line. 

Headquarters, Fifth Army, having an- 
nounced, on 23 November, that it was tak- 
ing over the full responsibility for the sup- 
ply of the CEF, SOS, NATOUSA, recom- 
mended that the French themselves be 
urged to contribute to the fullest extent pos- 
sible to the "housemaiding" of their own 
forces. Since it was expected that three 
eighths of Fifth Army combat troops would 
ultimately be French, SOS considered that 
French service units should be assigned for 
duty with PBS in approximately the same 
ratio. On this basis, a list of the required 
signal, ordnance, quartermaster, transpor- 

41 Ltrs, Col Olmstead, International Div ASF, to 
Loomis, 6 Nov 43, and Loomis to Olmstcad, 11 
Dec 43, JRC 908 Policy and Plan— Misc. 

48 Hq, Peninsular Base Section, History of the 
Peninsular Base Section, North African Theater of 
Operations, United States Army, Vol. II, Covering 
the Period 28 August 1943 to 31 January 1944 
(Naples, 1944), Ch. IV, eopy in OGMH. 



tation, and medical units was subsequently 
drawn up and incorporated in the 23 Jan- 
uary Plan. The list represented, it was 
thought, a proper proportion of the total 
number of base section units required for 
the support of Fifth Army. AFHQ con- 
sidered that their assignment would, in addi- 
tion to helping relieve the acute shortage of 
U.S. service personnel in PBS, provide them 
with excellent practical training toward 
their ultimate employment in Anvil. Gen- 
eral Loomis strongly urged the French Gen- 
eral Staff to accelerate the activation of the 
necessary units. Yet by the end of January, 
no such troops had been made available. 
When queried on the matter, General Leyer 
could only give the assurance that he would 
"try" to activate as many units as he pos- 
sibly could and as quickly as practicable. 49 
Such was the situation as the next phase 
of the rearmament program was about to 
begin. The blueprint for a French base sec- 
tion to support the CEF had been com- 
pleted. Running the section now hinged 
on the ability of the French High Command 
to assign to it the necessary personnel. 

Supply Situation — End of January 1944 

By the end of January the long and tedi- 
ous period of re-examination, begun with 
the suspension of the 15 August Plan, had 
come to an end. It had given rise to ex- 
tensive reorganization in every field of the 
rearmament operations. A new equipment 

49 The three-eighths ratio was reached at the peak 
of Fifth Army's strength in May 1944. Of a total 
of some 13 divisions, 4 plus elements of a fifth 
were French. 

Hq Fifth Army, Admin Dir 12, 23 Nov 43, in 
Opn Rpts, Fifth Army G-3, Sep 43-Jan 44, and 
Msg L-4528, Larkin to JRC, 22 Dec 43, JRC Cable 
Log; Memos, Loomis for Leyer, 29 Dec 43, 29 Jan 
44, and Leyer for Loomis, 1 Feb 44, JRC 370/003 
Employment of Sv Units. 



THE PROGRAM MARKS TIME: II 



147 



program, the 23 January Plan, had been 
drafted which, unlike its predecessors, was 
considered reasonable, therefore capable of 
accomplishment. The substantial reduc- 
tion of the number of combat divisions as 
agreed to by the French High Command 
was expected to produce personnel for the 
activation of supporting arms and services 
and for the manning of supply installations. 
A central supply authority similar to the 
American SOS was attempting, with 
American assistance, to set up an efficient 
supply system. A sound plan for the main- 
tenance of expeditionary forces had been 
put into operation. A program of requisi- 
tions had been devised which, it was hoped, 
would guarantee the continuous flow of sup- 
plies from U.S. sources. These and other 
similar measures had one common purpose, 
the building up, within the shortest possible 
time, of a well-balanced French task force 
adequately equipped and properly main- 
tained in battle. 

The need to apply these measures with 
speed and vigor was emphasized by devel- 
opments in Italy. Reports currently being 
received from that theater indicated that 
French troops were still arriving without 
their full initial equipment. The two divi- 
sions already there, the 2d DIM and the 
3d DIA, were said to be fighting extremely 
well. It was all the more urgent therefore 
that they and their corps commander, Gen- 
eral Juin, be given all the necessary material 
means with which to maintain their good 



record. On 26 January General Kingman 
voiced to General Loomis the fear that the 
French had not learned ordnance supply 
as yet. He then pointed to a curious differ- 
ence between the respective attitudes of 
French and American troops regarding sup- 
ply matters : '"Americans howl for what they 
want. The French anticipate that Higher 
Command will send what they should 
have." Yet it was known that CEF au- 
thorities themselves had registered their con- 
cern over the shortage situation and taken 
steps to correct it. The Chief of Staff, Brig. 
Gen. Marcel Carpentier, had urged General 
Giraud to intervene energetically with the 
Commissioner of War to ensure that rein- 
forcements reaching Italy would arrive fully 
dressed and equipped. Unless this was 
done, he had warned, maintenance stocks 
available to the CEF would gradually dis- 
appear. 31 

Despite these disturbing reports, there 
were signs that the supply situation would 
rapidly improve, for the French, bent as 
they were on assuming as large a share 
as possible of the fighting, were equally de- 
termined to correct errors as they were de- 
tected. In addition, the experience being 
gained as a result of their battle-testing in 
Italy was expected to be a valuable guide 
in implementing the next rearmament 
phase. 

°° Memo, Kingman for Loomis, 26 Jan 44, JRC 
333/002 Inspections by Gen Kingman. 

"Msg 182-A, CofS CEF to Giraud, 7 Jan 44, 
JRC Cable Log. 



CHAPTER IX 



Phase IV of the Program 

(February-October 1944) 
I: Background and Objectives 



Rearmament Operations Resume 

The 23 January Plan for rearming the 
French forces was formally presented to 
General Giraud by the Chief of Staff, 
AFHQ, on 1 February 1944 for his ap- 
proval of its details. General Gammell 
reminded Giraud that the plan had been 
developed after lengthy conversations be- 
tween French and AFHQ staffs, on the 
basis of available qualified manpower. The 
objective, which General Gammell hoped 
the French Commander in Chief would 
concur in, was to provide a sound troop 
list representing a balanced force suitable 
for the type of combat anticipated in An- 
vil. 1 Thus was set forth in precise terms 
the final rearmament goal which AFHQ 
was determined to reach. 

Three days earlier, General Devers 
had informed the War Department of 
the proposed revisions. Pending the final 
drafting of the plan, he had requested the 
early shipment of the materiel necessary 
to equip the remainder of such supporting 
units on the 15 August Plan as were ex- 
pected to become part of the new plan. 
This materiel had already been assigned 
by the MAB but had not yet been de- 
livered. He had also requested the War 

1 Ltr, Gammell to Giraud, 1 Feb 44, JRC Incl 
to 320/001. 



Department to fill as completely as possible 
shortages in previous assignments and 
shipments. 2 

AFHQ officials were confident that the 
French part of the Anvil troop list as rep- 
resented by the 23 January Plan provided 
as large and as well-balanced a force as 
the French military authorities could or- 
ganize and train within the limitations of 
time and manpower. 3 The National De- 
fense Committee, it will be recalled, had 
already approved the troop list. It only 
remained to obtain General Giraud's final 
decision. No word had been received from 
the French Commander in Chief since 1 1 
January, when he had approved in prin- 
ciple the revisions then under consideration 
while reaffirming his intention of retaining 
the 15 August Plan "as a basis." 

Concern at AFHQ increased when it 
was learned that Giraud had appealed di- 
rectly to General Marshall for the retention 
of a fourth armored division. The U.S 

! Msg W-I313/44211, Devers to AGWAR, 28 
Jan 44, AFHQ Cable Log; Memo, Loomis for 
Leyer, 29 Jan 44, JRC 903 Requests for Units; 
Msg 8524, Somervell to Devers, 30 Jan 44, OPD 
Exec 1, Item 13-A; Msg W-1520, Devers to 
AGWAR, 31 Jan 44, AFHQ Cable Log. 

5 Memo, Brig Gen Daniel Noce, ACofS AFHQ, 
for CofS, 1 Feb 44, AFMQ 01 00/1 2C G-3 Div 
Ops Fr Rearmt 2. 



PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM: I 



149 



Chief of Staff seized this opportunity to 
remind him that General Wilson was ea- 
gerly awaiting his views on the current re- 
study of the program, on which to base final 
recommendations to the CCS. 4 

On 4 February, deciding to wait no 
longer for a reply from General Giraud, 
General Wilson cabled to the CCS the full 
details of the 23 January Plan. His mes- 
sage listed the units of the 15 August Plan 
to be deleted, those to be added, as well as 
the nonprogram organizations (Moroccan 
tabors, mule companies, and so on) for 
which maintenance only was requested. In 
a letter of the same date the Supreme 
Allied Commander recommended that the 
program be approved and assignments 
made without delay so that priority of ship- 
ments could be established at an early date. 5 

By his action, General Wilson was setting 
the wheels of the rearmament machinery 
in motion once again. There was little 
doubt that the CCS would endorse his rec- 
ommendations without delay, for the pro- 
posed plan involved a relatively small out- 
lay of equipment and its prospect of being 
carried out successfully was greater than 
that of any preceding plans. After a three- 
month period of re-examination, during 
which no assignments and only a few de- 
liveries of equipment had been made to the 
French, the rearmament operations were 
entering a new phase, the fourth and last. 

Control Over the French Forces 

With the entire French forces expected 
to be engaged in combat in the near fu- 
ture, the question of their operational con- 

4 Ltrs, Marshall to Giraud, 2 Fel> 44, and to 
Devers, 3 Feb 44, OPD 336.2 France, Sec II. 

"'Msg W-1847/47163, Wilson to AGWAR, 4 
Feb 44, NAF 597; Ltr, Wilson to CCS, 4 Feb 44, 
SHAEF 388.3/3 Fr Rearmt, 16 Mar 45, Dr 5418. 



trol was taking on increased importance. 
It will be recalled that at a conference held 
on 27 December 1943, Mr. Massigli, the 
French Commissioner of Foreign Affairs, 
had submitted to the U.S. and British po- 
litical representatives in the theater the draft 
of a military agreement on the control and 
employment of the French forces. Two 
days later he had made known to his Amer- 
ican and British colleagues the great interest 
which the French Committee of National 
Liberation attached to the speedy conclusion 
of an agreement. 

The entire question was subsequently re- 
ferred to the CCS who, on 1 1 March 1944, 
instructed General Wilson to present to the 
CFLN a counterproposal they had just ap- 
proved. Article III of their own draft 
agreement stipulated that "the French 
forces to be placed at the disposal of the 
CCS is a matter for agreement between the 
CCS and the CFLN, it being understood 
that the forces placed at the disposal of the 
CCS will include all French forces which 
have been rearmed and re-equipped by the 
U.S. or the U.K." 6 

On 3 April, the CFLN proposed some 
modifications of the CCS document. The 
committee held, in particular, that the agree- 
ment should be with the two Allied gov- 
ernments and not with the CCS. 7 It was 
clear that the committee, which regarded it- 
self as a ^ jure government in full posses- 
sion of its sovereignty, desired that military 
matters be dealt with at government level. 
Already French civil authorities had at- 
tempted to take over the handling of re- 
armament negotiations with AFHQ. The 
Commissioner of War and Air, Andre Le 

6 Msg 1913, CCS to Wilson, 11 Mar 44, FAN 
343; Ltr, Wilson to de Gaulle, 14 Mar 44, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Corres. 

7 Ltr, CFLN to U.S. and Br Representatives, 3 
Apr. 44, AFHQ 0100/12 A G-3 Div Ops Bigot Fr. 



150 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



Troquer, had requested on 1 2 January that 
thereafter all correspondence on armament 
questions be addressed to him. He had 
done so in pursuance of the decree of 16 
December 1943 which specifically charged 
the Commissioner of War and Air with the 
task of implementing the decisions of the 
National Defense Committee regarding 
armament matters. But AFHQ officials 
considered that to deal with Le Troquer 
through the American and British min- 
isters would be a particularly cumbersome 
method. Barring a CCS decision to the 
contrary or new developments in the thea- 
ter, they agreed to continue to regard the 
French Commander in Chief as the official 
link between themselves and the French 
High Command on all rearmament ques- 
tions. 8 Although informed of this decision, 
the commissioner kept writing directly to 
AFHQ. Replies to his queries were 
forwarded to him through French 
headquarters. 

As the CFLN kept insisting that mili- 
tary matters be handled on a political level 
as between governments, General Marshall 
sought President Roosevelt's advice on the 
matter. The President informed him on 28 
April that it was his desire that military 
questions which involved the French forces 
continue to be discussed directly between the 
Supreme Allied Commander and the 
French military authorities, and "not as be- 
tween one sovereign government in full pos- 
session of its sovereignty and another gov- 
ernment which has no de facto sover- 
eignty." " This was a restatement of the 

R Memo, Le Troquer for Gen Wilson, 12 Jan 44, 
Memo, Whiteley for Minister Edwin Wilson, 14 
Jan 44, AFHQ 0100/4 SACS Red Sec, Fr Matters, 
Vol. IV; Ltr, Gammell to Le Troquer, 26 Jan 44, 
AFHQ 400/1 Rearmt. 



policy long advocated by the President, a 
policy based on his firm conviction that no 
French government could exist until the 
liberated people of France themselves es- 
tablished one of their choice. In Decem- 
ber 1943 he had specifically informed the 
Department of State that he wished all mil- 
itary matters to be treated directly between 
General Eisenhower and the French mili- 
tary authorities and not on a government or 
committee basis. Later, in March 1944, 
when the question of establishing British 
and U.S. military missions to the CFLN 
was under discussion, the CCS showed, by 
their action, that they held the same view. 
They ruled that the proposed missions, if 
established, should "in no way infringe on 
the [Supreme Allied Commander's] posi- 
tion as the CCS representative in dealing 
with the French on military matters, espe- 
cially French rearmament." 10 Finally, 
when, at about the same time, General 
Eisenhower began negotiating with French 
military authorities in London an arrange- 
ment to govern French-Allied relations in 
the proposed cross-Channel operation, Gen- 
eral Marshall restated for his benefit the 
President's policy. 11 

In mid-May, after AFHQ had carefully 
examined the French proposal of 3 April, 
General Wilson cabled the views and recom- 
mendations of the theater on the control of 
French forces. First he outlined the prac- 

•' Memo, President for Marshall, 28 Apr 44, ABC 
091.711 France (6 Oct 43), Sec 1-A. 

"Msg, CCS to Wilson, 28 Jan 44, FAN 329: 
Msg 890, Wilson to CCS, 20 Feb 44, NAF 623: 
Msg 197, JCS to Wilson, 29 Feb 44, SHAEF SGS 
092 France, Vol. I, Fr Relations; Msg 2500, Mar- 
shall to Devers, 1 7 Mar 44, JRC Cable Log. 

11 Msgs 324, Marshall to Eisenhower, 17 Mar 44, 
and S-50531, SCAF 15, Eisenhower to CCS, 21 
Apr 44, SHAEF SGS 092 France, Vol. I, Fr 
Relations. 



PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM: I 



151 



tices then current. Under the terms of a 
naval agreement to which the French had 
subscribed, the Allied naval area comman- 
der exercised the operational control of all 
French naval units, rearmed and otherwise. 
This was consonant with the general pol- 
icies set forth by the CCS on 4 October 
1943 on the subject of French naval ves- 
sels. 12 With respect to the air squadrons, 
on the other hand, no formal agreement 
existed, the current informal arrangement 
being that when a squadron was ready, the 
French Commander in Chief notified the 
Allied air command in the Mediterranean, 
which assigned the unit to duty and assumed 
operational control of it. General Wilson 
then strongly recommended that a written 
agreement, similar to the naval agreement, 
be concluded with the CFLN which would 
ensure that all French land, air, and sea 
forces that were rearmed by the United 
States or the United Kingdom would auto- 
matically come under Allied operational 
control. 13 

By the end of May the control question 
had not been solved and no agreement was 
yet in sight. The launching of Overlord 
and Anvil, in early June and mid-August 
respectively, would take place without any 
formal agreement having been reached 
other than a temporary arrangement con- 
cluded by General Eisenhower pending 
further negotiations with the French. 

Reorganization of the French High 
Command 

Meanwhile the showdown between the 
CFLN and General Giraud, which ob- 

12 CCS 358 (Revised), 4 Oct 43, sub: Policies Re- 
garding Fr Naval Vessels. 

13 Msg F-46812, Wilson to CCS, 16 May 44. 
NAF 701 ; Memo, Col J. Terrcnce for Maj Gen 
Daniel Noce, 30 Jun 44, AFHQ 01 00/1 2C G-3 
Div Ops Fr Comd and Liaison 2. 



servers had long regarded as unavoidable, 
had come to pass. In spite of continued 
Allied support, the French Commander in 
Chief had had his powers so reduced by 
successive ordinances and decrees that by 
February he was able to make few, if any, 
decisions that were final." In early April, 
a few days after his return to Algiers from 
a tour of inspection of the French units en- 
gaged in Italy, General Giraud was sud- 
denly confronted with a dramatic situa- 
tion. An ordinance issued by the CFLN 
on 4 April, apparently without prior con- 
sultation with him, announced a reshuffling 
of the National Defense setup. Invoking 
the law of 11 July 1938 bearing upon the 
general organization of the nation in war- 
time, the ordinance made the president of 
the CFLN titular Chief of the Armed 
Forces. 15 It established, in addition to the 
existing National Defense Committee, a 
General Staff of National Defense, a sort 
of war department placed directly under the 
president. Finally it abolished, although by 
implication only, the post of Commander 
in Chief. Feeling that his position was 
untenable, General Giraud at first declared 
his firm intention to resign. General Wil- 
son, while concerned over the situation, did 
not anticipate that immediate serious re- 
percussions would result from the French 
Commander in Chief's resignation. He was 
convinced that he could depend upon 
Giraud loyally to use his influence in favor 
of continuing the existing Franco-Allied 
collaboration. 16 

During the following three days, General 
Giraud deliberated with General Juin, 

u Personal Ltr, Devers to Marshall, 1 3 Feb 44, 
Somervell Files A-46-257, Ser 1, Dr 3. 

15 CFLN, Ordinance, 4 Apr 44, AFHQ 01 00/1 2 A 
G-3 Div Ops Bigot Fr. 

" Msg F-27715, Wilson to CCS, 4 Apr 44, NAF 
661. 



152 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



whom he had summoned to Algiers, and 
with various AFHQ officials including the 
U.S. and British political representatives in 
the theater. He then decided not to re- 
sign. The crisis came to a head on 8 April 
when General de Gaulle offered Giraud 
the post of Inspector General whose duties 
had been defined by a special decree, pro- 
mulgated the day before. 17 

The reasons for the committee's latest 
action, as given by de Gaulle in a letter to 
General Giraud, appear sound when exam- 
ined in the light of the situation then pre- 
vailing. 18 The post of Commander in Chief 
had lost much of its significance, consider- 
ing that French expeditionary forces, when 
engaged in operations, passed under Allied 
command. It was not likely, moreover, 
that present and future Allied operational 
plans offered any chance for General Gi- 
raud to assume a field command commen- 
surate with his rank. In addition, the 
CFLN had come to regard the handling 
of problems of organization and employ- 
ment of forces its prerogative. In the opin- 
ion of the committee, therefore, the post 
of Inspector General was a logical substi- 
tute, one which General Giraud could fill 
with greatest advantage to French inter- 
ests. Giraud, on the other hand, felt that 
acceptance of the post would entail a less- 
ening of authority which would "prevent 
him from fully serving his country." Pro- 
testing against the decree which he con- 
sidered arbitrary, General Giraud declined 
de Gaulle's offer and expressed his inten- 
tion of continuing to serve as Commander 
in Chief. 19 



17 Msg F-29518, Wilson to CCS, 8 Apr 44, NAF 
669. 

"Text of letter in Giraud, Un seul but, la Vic- 
toire, p. 287. 

" Ltr, Giraud to de Gaulle, 9 Apr 44, in Giraud, 
Un seul but, la Victoire, p. 300. 



Announcement came on 1 2 April that Lt. 
Gen. Emile Bethouart was being appointed 
by decree Chief of Staff of National De- 
fense. In effect, he was supplanting Gen- 
eral Giraud. Thereafter, liaison with 
AFHQ was to be divided between Bethouart 
as Chief of Staff, National Defense, and 
General Leyer as Chief of Staff, Ground 
Forces. General Bethouart immediately 
called first on General Gammell, Chief of 
Staff, AFHQ, then on General Wilson, the 
Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterra- 
nean Theater, to inform them of the latest 
changes in command. 20 

Two days later, on 14 April, the CFLN, 
on the ground that General Giraud was un- 
willing to accept the post to which he had 
been assigned, decided to relieve him of all 
command although retaining him on active 
reserve. 21 The next day, General Giraud 
issued his last order, a pathetic farewell to 
the French forces. In it he took occasion 
to recall how he had obtained from America 
the armament which now enabled the units 
in Italy to show their worth. 22 

Whatever the merits or demerits of the 
CFLN actions that led to General Giraud's 
removal from the French High Command, 
it cannot be denied that he played a de- 
cisive role in the North African rearma- 
ment program. He had been its ardent 
champion even before his escape from 
France in October 1942; at Anfa in Jan- 
uary 1943 he extracted a promise for arms 
from President Roosevelt; in July of the 
same year he went to Washington, there to 

30 Min Mtgs, Bethouart with Gammell, and with 
Wilson, 12 Apr. 44, AFHQ 0100/12A G-3 Div 
Ops Bigot Fr. 

31 Min Mtg, Bethouart with Wilson, 14 Apr 44, 
AFHQ 0100/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Fr Comd and 
Liaison, Pt. I. 

52 Fr CinC, GO 19, 15 Apr 44, AFHQ 0100/12A 
G-3 Div Ops Bigot Fr. 



PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM: I 



153 



plead for more arms and supplies; for 
months afterward he relentlessly fought for 
what he considered to be a major objec- 
tive: the speedy rearming of a large strik- 
ing force capable of taking a full share in 
the common fight against the Axis. At the 
time of his removal, the undertaking was 
nearly complete. 23 

Command of the French forces was now 
vested in the National Defense Committee, 
with General de Gaulle as its President, and 
the new General Staff headed by General 
Bethouart as its executive organ. On 15 
April an instruction issued by the committee 
set forth the respective functions of the pres- 
ident of the CFLN and of the several Com- 
missioners. The President, assisted by the 
General Staff of National Defense, was re- 
sponsible for the general organization and 
distribution of forces as well as the general 
plans for their employment and equipping. 
The National Defense General Staff ensured 
liaison with military and civilian depart- 
ments and with Allied staffs. The func- 
tions of the National Defense Commit- 
tee and of the Commissioners of War and 
Air and of Navy remained as defined by the 
earlier decree of 16 December 1943. 24 

On 4 May General Bethouart outlined 
the internal organization and the functions 
of the National Defense General Staff of 
which he was the chief. One of its duties 
was to establish and carry out rearmament 
plans in pursuance of decisions reached by 
the Commissioners. 25 



23 General Giraud received the degree of Chief 
Commander of the Legion of Merit on 23 October 
1943. 

a< National Defense Committee General Instruc- 
tion, signed by de Gaulle, 15 Apr 44, AFHQ 0100/ 
1 2C G-3 Div Ops Corres From the Fr. 

20 Memo, Bethouart for Col L. Higgins, Chief 
Liaison Sec AFHQ, 4 May 44, AFHQ 0100/12C 
G-3 Div Ops Corres From the Fr. 



Franco- American Relations 

The departure of General Eisenhower 
and some members of his staff from North 
Africa in early January had brought a re- 
organization of the Allied command in that 
theater. As newly appointed officials were 
assuming their posts, Liaison Section, 
AFHQ, urged them to start a round of calls 
on French military authorities. Pointing to 
the hypersensitivity of which the French 
had seemed to be the victims since 1940, 
Liaison Section believed that these courtesy 
calls would do much to strengthen Franco- 
Allied co-operation. 26 The first meeting 
took place on 1 February when General Wil- 
son, the Supreme Allied Commander, called 
successively on General de Gaulle, Le 
Troquer, and General Giraud. With the 
latter, he discussed, in particular, French 
participation in the Italian campaign. A 
week later, General Wilson received General 
de Lattre de Tassigny, commander desig- 
nate of the French forces assigned to Anvil, 
and with him discussed, among other mat- 
ters, the perennial question of service units. 27 

Since his appointment, on 8 January, to 
the posts of deputy commander in chief and 
commanding general of NATOUSA, Gen- 
eral Devers likewise was giving close atten- 
tion to French matters, especially rearma- 
ment. Writing personally to General Mar- 
shall on 13 February 1944, General Devers 
outlined the French situation as he had 
found it upon assuming his command. He 
dealt largely with the question of Franco- 
American relations. At a time when in- 
creasing numbers of French and American 
troops were being or would soon be thrown 



!S Memo, Higgins for CofS AFHQ, 1 1 Jan 44, 
AFHQ 0100/26 Liaison Sec, Mtgs and Confs, 
Vol. I. 

'■" Min Mtg, Wilson with de Lattre, 7 Feb 44, 
AFHQ 01 00/1 2C G-3 Div Ops, F- l, Bigot Fr. 



154 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



together in combat, the question was taking 
on considerable importance. 

General Marshall, it appears, had been 
greatly disturbed by the tenor of a confi- 
dential report which had recently reached 
him. Emanating from International Di- 
vision, ASF, the report implied that Franco- 
American relations, which had started off so 
well, had seriously deteriorated, thereby 
creating "a condition which augured ill for 
the good of combined operations." The 
French, explained the report, were ascribing 
the present "unfortunate trend" to impa- 
tience, intolerance, lack of elementary cour- 
tesy, officiousness, and a belittling of French 
effort on the part of U.S. Army officers in 
the theater when dealing with their French 
allies. 28 While recognizing that misunder- 
standing did exist, Devers assured General 
Marshall that conditions as reported by 
ASF were grossly exaggerated. Discour- 
tesy, even rudeness, had been present in iso- 
lated instances, he admitted. There was 
no evidence, however, that it was wide- 
spread. It would in no case be tolerated. 29 

There is sufficient reason to believe that 
General Devers' statement reflected accu- 
rately the situation prevailing at the time 
and, for that matter, during the two and one 
half years of Franco-American collabora- 
tion. French and American officers for- 
merly associated with the Joint Rearmament 
Committee, when queried on the subject 
since the war, loudly and unanimously dis- 
counted the assertions of the ASF report. 
Several of the French officers so questioned 
frankly admitted that there had been occa- 
sions when an American official, presum- 

29 Memo, Col Eugene Villaret, International Div 
ASF, for Director International Div ASF, 21 Jan 
44. JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-d. 

29 Personal Ltr, Devers to Marshall, 13 Feb 44, 
Somervell Files, Fr 1943-44, A-46-257, Ser 1, 
Dr 3. 



ably exasperated at French incomprehension 
of his own views or at French slowness by 
American standards, had, under the impulse 
of the moment, acted in a harsh, even scath- 
ing manner. But, they quickly admitted, 
his behavior was generally quite justified, 
and, at any rate, never unfair. In other 
instances, they said, American incomprehen- 
sion of the French viewpoint had caused 
the French to misinterpret the American po- 
sition and intentions. They quoted the 
case of an American general officer who, 
because he had frequently questioned the 
validity or soundness of various armament 
requests submitted by the French, had led 
the latter generally to believe that he was 
anti-French. On the whole, they empha- 
sized, American officials had been sympa- 
thetic to the French cause. 30 

General Loomis, who for nearly two years 
supervised French rearmament operations 
and therefore can speak with authority on 
the subject, could not, when queried on the 
matter, recall a single instance of bad feel- 
ings other than the alleged anti-French case 
reported above. He, too, emphasized that, 
considering the basic difficulties encoun- 
tered, such as the language barrier and 
differences in national idiosyncrasies, 
Franco- American relations were, at the time 
of the ASF report and thereafter as well, 
"remarkably good." 31 

Having reduced the allegations contained 
in the ASF report to their true proportions, 
General Devers in his letter to Marshall next 
examined the causes of some of the griev- 
ances currently being voiced by the French. 
Until recently, he pointed out, they had been 
especially irritated by the very complex 

3 * Intervs with Lt Col Roland de Beaumont, Jul 
50, Brig Gen Jean Regnault, Jul and Sep 50, Col 
Andre L'Huillier, Sep 50, Gen Aime de Goislard 
de Monsabert, Nov 48, and others. 

31 Interv with Loomis, Jul 50. 



PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM: I 



155 



procedure through which their armament 
requests had to pass. He hoped that this 
particular grievance would soon be dispelled 
as a result of steps which he had just taken. 
He had authorized General Loomis to deal 
directly with General Larkin in all arma- 
ment matters arising within the framework 
of established policies. He believed that 
this change in procedure would be appre- 
ciated by the French and would have an im- 
mediate favorable effect on relations with 
them. 

Another grievance voiced by the French 
was that Americans in Washington prom- 
ised more than Americans in the theater 
performed. They felt there was contradic- 
tion between the decisions announced by 
the War Department and the restrictions 
imposed by AFHQ and other Allied agen- 
cies. To clear up their misgivings in this 
connection, General Devers had undertaken 
to explain to them the existing relationship 
between the CCS, the War Department, and 
the theater. 

The paucity of equipment available to 
French communications zone establishments 
necessary for the support of the expedition- 
ary forces had been another source of fric- 
tion. No provision had been made at Anfa 
or since for the issue of supplies to these 
establishments. It was hoped that the 
measures recently taken on their behalf 
would settle the issue to the satisfaction of 
the French. 

General Devers then turned to one final 
French grievance. In the course of his re- 
cent visit to French troops fighting in Italy, 
he had heard them make one complaint: 
not enough food. This, he explained, was 
not the fault of the Americans, but of in- 
sufficient planning on the part of the French 
military authorities themselves. 32 AFHQ, 

sa See the discussion on the food and troop ra- 
tion problem, |pp. 254-58J below. 



he pointed out, had taken action to make 
sure that, thereafter, French troops would 
get the full U.S. ration. 

The 23 January Plan Becomes the Basis of 
Phase IV 

All things considered, Phase IV got off to 
an auspicious start. A sound over-all pro- 
gram had been drawn up and submitted to 
Washington for approval. The French 
were putting their supply system in order. 
Closer relations with them were being 
sought. More important, glowing accounts 
were being received of their fine perform- 
ance in action in Italy, a tangible proof that 
American efforts to rearm them were being 
wisely expended, and a decisive argument 
in favor of the speedy completion of the 
rearmament operations. 

The general feeling of optimism was en- 
hanced further by the announcement that 
General Giraud was approving the re- 
visions contained in the 23 January Plan. 
Writing to General Marshall on 16 Feb- 
ruary, he declared himself in complete 
agreement with the principle that "a bal- 
ance should be brought about between com- 
bat forces and service and supply units." 
In Washington, the Combined Staff Plan- 
ners had already considered the plan fa- 
vorably. On 2 March the CCS approved 
it "insofar as availability of equipment 
would permit." War Department officials 
immediately informed General Wilson that 
the necessary materiel, once assigned, would 
be shipped in accordance with theater pri- 
ority. They warned him, though, that 
shortages were likely to occur in signal 
equipment, trucks, and artillery. 33 

"Ltr, Giraud to Marshall, 16 Feb 44, OPD 
336.2 France, Sec II; Msg 1255, CCS to Wilson, 
2 Mar 44, FAN 340. 



156 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



On 13 March the MAB assigned all 
available equipment for the eighty-odd sup- 
porting combat and service organizations 
still to be equipped. Not all the materiel 
was to be shipped from the United States. 
Some of it had already been delivered as 
part of Phase III toward the requirements 
of the two divisions now deferred. For the 
rest, as much as possible was to be trans- 
ferred from stocks available in the theater. 
At the request of the French, the JRC ar- 
ranged with NATOUSA to have the lo- 
cally available items of equipment issued to 
them before the arrival of the more impor- 
tant shipments. In this manner there would 
be no sudden congestion of their supply 
facilities. 34 

Before long, AFHQ and French authori- 
ties came to recognize the necessity of sub- 
jecting the 23 January Plan to minor modi- 
fications. Initially they had drafted the 
plan with a view to filling specific require- 
ments for an operation, Anvil, scheduled 
to take place around 1 May. As time 
passed, the target date was changed to early 
June, then to late July, finally to mid- 
August. Operational requirements were 
bound to fluctuate accordingly and with 
them the composition of the French troop 
list. Headquarters, Force 163, the Allied 
command organized in early January for 
the purpose of planning Anvil, urged from 
time to time the addition of new units and 
the elimination of others no longer regarded 
as essential. 

By the end of May the JRC had drawn 
up a tentative list of the units considered 
necessary for addition to the plan. All 

84 Min, MAC (G) 134th Mtg, 13 Mar 44; Msg 
2099, AGWAR to Devers, 13 Mar 44, and Memos, 
Leyer for Loomis, 29 Feb 44, Loomis for Leyer, 4 
Mar 44, JRC 903 Requests for Units; Msg 223, 
Somervell to Devers, 18 Feb 44, ASF International 
Div Files, A-45-192. 



were supporting service organizations ex- 
cept for two antiaircraft operations detach- 
ments and one tank destroyer battalion 
which American authorities urged the 
French to include in their troop list. In 
the case of some of these units, AFHQ felt 
that maintenance equipment only need be 
provided. To arrive at a final decision, 
some thirty-five representatives from 
AFHQ, NATOUSA, Force 163, and the 
French General Staff met on 1 3 June. They 
drew up a final list of revisions to be sub- 
mitted first to the French High Command, 
later to the theater commander. At a sec- 
ond conference, held a fortnight later, the 
French proposed the further addition of 
three replacement depots and sixty replace- 
ment companies. The proposed revisions 
having been formally approved by all con- 
cerned, General Wilson recommended to 
the CCS on 17 July their incorporation in 
the 23 January Plan.** 

The French, in the meantime, had re- 
quested and obtained inclusion in the pro- 
gram of an additional infantry regiment 
(the 4th Zouaves) for use not in Anvil 
but in Corsica to reinforce the Sovereignty 
forces charged with the defense of the is- 
land. General Devers had already author- 
ized SOS to issue the necessary equipment 
on loan, pending its assignment in Wash- 
ington and replacement from future 
shipments. 36 

In early July the French also had urged 
the addition to the 23 January Plan of two 
more infantry regiments of two battalions 

36 Min, Conf on Fr Rearmt, 13, 27 Jun 44, JRC 
904 Modification of Rearmt; Msg, Wilson to CCS, 
17 Jul 44, NAF 752; Memo, Loomis for Leyer, 
7 Aug 44, JRC 904. 

39 Ltr, Leyer to Loomis, 21 May 44, Msg F- 
58925, Devers to Larkin, 13 Jun 44, and Memo, 
Loomis for Leyer, 21 Jul 44, JRC 903 Requests 
for Units. 



PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM: I 



157 



each, to provide for a stronger infantry 
reserve in the forthcoming operations in 
southern France. They considered this in- 
crease necessary in view of the nature of 
the terrain and to offset the numerical in- 
sufficiency of infantry as compared with 
tanks in the existing composition of armored 
divisions. The two regiments were the 9th 
Zouaves and the 1st Algerian Tirailleurs 
(1st RTA). Again, on 10 August, the 
French recommended the addition of a 
mobile salvage unit to be used in southern 
France for the salvage and repair of ma- 
teriel abandoned by the enemy within the 
French sector of operations. While theater 
officials were examining these two requests, 
the CCS, on 13 August, approved the re- 
visions recommended earlier by General 
Wilson. They directed that the equipment 
already in the hands of units deleted from 
the troop list be repossessed and put into 
U.S. stocks without delay. 37 

By the time of the launching of Anvil 
in mid-August, AFHQ officials had come to 
regard the French troop list as it stood then 
as quite satisfactory. This was evidenced 
by the action they took on the French re- 
quest for two infantry regiments and a sal- 
vage unit. In a letter to General Bethouart 
dated 17 August, General Wilson declared 
that AFHQ would give no consideration to 
additional units or equipment until the cur- 
rent program had been completed. He 
pointed out that the CCS had been "very 
cooperative" and therefore should not be 
asked to approve equipment or units unless 
these were vitally necessary. In the case of 
the salvage unit in particular, AFHQ con- 
sidered that there was no need for it in 



37 Ltrs, Leyer to Loomis, 8 Jul 44, and Mr. 
Andre Diethelm to Loomis, 10 and 18 Aug 44, 
JRC 904: Msg, CCS to Wilson, 13 Aug 44, FAN 
390. 



view of the existence of similar Allied 
organizations. 38 

In spite of General Wilson's warning, 
the French submitted, on 30 August and 
again on 22 September, a request for ma- 
teriel to equip one escort troop and one 
headquarters company which General de 
Gaulle considered necessary for his own se- 
curity and "for reasons of prestige." 39 De- 
ciding against making any further recom- 
mendations to the CCS, AFHQ officials in- 
formally advised the French to resubmit 
their request to Supreme Headquarters, Al- 
lied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), then 
established in Paris. 

At the end of August, General Leyer fur- 
nished pertinent information on the state of 
activation of the units now approved for 
addition to the program. The tank de- 
stroyer battalion, for which 3-inch M10 
guns had been requested, was organized and 
had been placed on the troop list. All other 
units were or would be ready by 30 Sep- 
tember at the latest. 40 On 20 October the 
War Department advised the theater that 
no equipment for these units had yet been 
assigned in the absence of information as to 
the desired priority of shipment and ulti- 
mate destination. The theater had, in fact, 
cabled this information some six weeks 
earlier but its message had apparently been 
lost in transit. AFHQ then repeated the 
content of its first communication and stated 
that it wished the entire equipment, less the 
quantities reported earlier as being available 
in theater stocks, shipped immediately to the 
port of Oran from which French troops were 
being embarked for service in southern 

38 Memos, Noce for JRC, 23 Aug 44, and Loomis 
for Leyer, 28 Aug 44, JRC 904. 

39 Ltrs, Leyer to Loomis, 30 Aug and 22 Sep 44, 
in same file. 

i0 Ltr, Leyer to Loomis, 28 Aug 44, in same file. 



158 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



France. 4 ' The War Department immedi- 
ately submitted the necessary bids to the 
MAB. Once assigned, the materiel was 
shipped along with the rest of the equip- 
ment being furnished under the 23 January 
Plan. 

Secondary Programs 

Approval by the Combined Chiefs of 
the 23 January Plan, including the rider 
having reference to nonprogram units, came 
some five to six weeks after other important 
decisions. On 18 January they had author- 
ized the issue of maintenance materials to 
a number of French Communications Zone 
establishments. Ten days later they had 
also approved an extensive rearmament 
program for the French Air Force. 42 These 
various measures were proof that the Anglo- 
American allies were determined to rehabil- 
itate the North African forces to the fullest 
extent possible. Moreover, they were evi- 
dence of a desire to establish programs con- 
sistent with both French manpower and 
Allied production capabilities. But it soon 
developed that the French considered the 
provisions made with respect to nonprogram 
units and Communications Zone establish- 
ments as wholly insufficient, and they re- 
opened the issue. 

Nonprogram Units 

The letter that General Giraud had ad- 
dressed to General Marshall on 16 Feb- 
ruary signifying his general agreement to the 
terms of the 23 January Plan included an 
appeal for a more generous provision of 
materiel to nonprogram units. Under the 

41 Msgs FX-94554, AFHQ to AGWAR, 10 Sep 
44 (repeated in FX-46207, 31 Oct 44), and WX- 
54256, Somervell to SHAEF Mission to France, 29 
Oct 44, in same file. 

See frp. 204-06J below. 



plan, they were to receive maintenance sup- 
plies only. It was indispensable, he urged, 
to replace without delay the initial equip- 
ment now in the hands of these organiza- 
tions, as it had been issued at the expense 
of program units. In his answer, the U.S. 
Chief of Staff explained that, since the thea- 
ter itself had originally recommended that 
only maintenance items be furnished, Gen- 
eral Giraud should take the matter of fur- 
ther provision up directly with General 
Wilson. 43 

AFHQ had, by this time, recognized the 
necessity of granting the French request so 
as to make it possible to reduce shortages in 
program units from which equipment had 
been diverted. At a conference held on 
12 March with General Devinck, chief of 
General Giraud's personal staff, General 
Gammell, Chief of Staff, AFHQ, promised 
that steps would be taken to obtain the nec- 
essary equipment. The French General 
Staff immediately prepared the requisitions 
and in early April submitted them along 
with others to the JRC. In transmitting 
them to the War Department, General 
Loomis requested that NATOUSA be au- 
thorized to transfer at once to the French, as 
partial fulfillment of the requirements, a 
number of items then available in theater 
stocks. Before reaching a decision, War 
Department officials asked for a justifica- 
tion of the contemplated transfer. Gen- 
eral Loomis explained that the transfer was 
intended not to make up for shortages of 
assignments or shipments but primarily to 
replace equipment diverted for the benefit 
of nonprogram units. These units, he care- 
fully pointed out, had been organized at the 

" Ltrs, Giraud to Marshall, 16 Feb 44, and 
Marshall to Giraud, 4 Mar 44, OPD 336.2 France, 
Sec II; Msg 1372, Marshall to Devers, 4 Mar 44, 
JRC Cable Log. 



PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM: I 



159 



request of the theater commander for serv- 
ice in Italy. 44 

By this time Lt. Gen. Roger Leyer had 
submitted to the JRC new requisitions for 
materiel urgently needed by the Shock Bat- 
talion and the Commando Battalion, two 
nonprogram units not intended for service 
in Italy. These units, each composed of one 
headquarters company, three combat com- 
panies, and one demolition company, and 
with a combined strength of 1,100 to 1,300 
men, were then stationed in Corsica and 
participating in raids on enemy territory. 45 
Their equipment was so inadequate that 
any further training was considered inad- 
visable. Also the men were reported to be 
suffering from such neglect in all spheres 
(insufficient clothing and food rations in 
particular) that they lacked energy and 
showed apathy in their work. 46 The JRC, 
however, decided that most of the items re- 
quested on their behalf by General Leyer 
had been included in the requisitions sent 
to the War Department on 1 7 April and that 
there was no need for further action. 

On 5 May the War Department an- 
nounced that the transfer of materiel pro- 
posed by General Loomis to fill shortages of 
initial equipment was approved except in 
cases where such shortages resulted from di- 
version of materiel to units not authorized 
initial equipment by the CCS. 47 With this 
ruling, all hopes vanished, temporarily at 
least, for the replacement of initial materiel 
issued to nonprogram units. 

It soon became obvious that the diver- 

44 Msgs F-33327, Devers to AGWAR, 17 Apr 44, 
WX-26296, Somervell to Devers, 22 Apr 44, and 
F-36083, Loomis to AGWAR, 22 Apr 44, JRC 
400.4/005. 

45 Ltr, Lever to Loomis, 9 Apr 44, in same file. 
"Memo, Capt J. McNeil, Officer Commanding 

Commando Training Teams, for G-3 AFHQ, 27 
Apr 44, in same file. 

"Msg W-32523, Somervell to Devers, 6 May 
44, in same file. 



sion of equipment to nonprogram units had 
created such shortages as to make it im- 
possible for the French military authorities 
to complete the equipping of program units. 
Gravely concerned over the situation, Gen- 
eral Devers appealed once again to the War 
Department on 14 June. First he pro- 
ceeded to justify the operational necessity 
for the activation and equipping of the 
nonprogram units. The tabor groups and 
mule companies, he explained, had been 
organized by the French at the urgent re- 
quest of General Clark and with NATOU- 
SA's approval in order to meet unexpected 
operational requirements presented by con- 
ditions of terrain that were unforeseen when 
the Italian campaign was planned. They 
had been engaged for several months and 
had rendered "invaluable support" in the 
successful operations of the U.S. Fifth 
Army. The Shock and Commando Battal- 
ions were standing ready for the conquest 
of the Island of Elba (Operation Bras- 
sard ) . Divisional instruction centers were 
considered necessary in view of the French 
replacement system. The Spahis Brigade 
had been issued initial equipment as a re- 
sult of a personal agreement between Gen- 
erals Smith and Giraud. It was not pos- 
sible, warned General Devers, to take 
equipment away from these units nor could 
the units themselves be withdrawn from 
present operations or deleted from the 
Anvil and Brassard troop lists. The 
promise had been made to the French that 
the equipment issued these organizations at 
the expense of program units would be re- 
placed. Failure to fulfill this commitment 
was bound to jeopardize Anvil. The only 
possible course of action, concluded Gen- 
eral Devers, was to assign and float the 
equipment in question without delay. 48 

49 Msg F-59425, Devers to AGWAR, 14 Jun 
44, ABC 091.711 France (6 Oct 43), Sec 2-A. 



160 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



Apparently impressed by the strength of 
General Devers' arguments, War Depart- 
ment officials took immediate action. Four 
days later they announced that initial 
equipment for the Spahis Brigade and ta- 
bor groups had been assigned. They were, 
however, referring the entire question to 
the CCS, the latter being the sole authority 
in the matter of the provision of initial 
equipment. In case the CCS turned 
down the proposal, the materiel already 
assigned would be deducted from future 
assignments to program units which had 
received no equipment, such as the fourth 
armored division and the remainder of the 
sixth infantry division. 49 

It was not until 14 July that the CCS fi- 
nally approved the issue of initial equip- 
ment to Moroccan tabors, pack companies, 
and the Commando and Shock Battalions. 
With respect to replacement training cen- 
ters, they approved the issue of a minimum 
amount of equipment to be used solely for 
the training of replacements earmarked for 
expeditionary units. The CCS then warned 
General Devers to make no further com- 
mitments to rearm additional French or- 
ganizations without their approval. To 
keep the record straight, Devers replied 
that, except for the equipment given non- 
program units for operational reasons and 
that furnished for the purpose of filling 
shortages in program units alerted for oper- 
ations, the theater had transferred no 
serviceable major items of initial equip- 
ment to the French without prior CCS 
approval. 50 

* Msg 53405, AGWAR to Devers, 20 Jun 44, 
ABC 091.711 France {6 Oct 43), Sec 2-A. 

"Msg WX-64781, AGWAR to Devers and 
S ACM ED, 14 Jul 44, ABC 091.711 France (6 
Oct 43), Sec 2-A; Msg F-7307, Devers to CCS, 
1 7 Jul 44, JRC Cable Log. 



Sovereignty Forces 

In the fall of 1943 theater officials, it will 
be recalled, had recommended against the 
provision of equipment to Sovereignty 
forces. 51 This position they maintained for 
some months but reconsidered it in May 
1944 when the question of the responsibility 
for the ground defense of French North 
Africa came up for re-examination. 

The Sovereignty forces had long taken 
an important share of the antiaircraft de- 
fense of North Africa and, since October 
1943, had gradually assumed the entire 
coastal and air defense of Corsica. When 
in April 1944 AFHQ suggested that they 
take over the entire responsibility for the 
ground defense of North Africa, the French 
High Command accepted the commitment 
provided the units charged with the task 
received additional help in the way of 
equipment, AFHQ had hoped that they 
would take on the added responsibility with 
the equipment already available to them. 52 

Asked to comment on the matter, Gen- 
eral Loomis pointed out that the needs of 
the Sovereignty forces must be assessed in 
the light of their operational duties. The 
units charged with the defense of the terri- 
tory were, in his judgment, sufficiently 
equipped. Only in the case of those charged 
with the ground defense of Corsica was there 
some justification for providing more equip- 
ment. Even then, the inclusion in the 23 
January Plan of an additional infantry regi- 
ment (the 4th Zouaves) for use as reinforce- 
ment on the island would probably be suf- 
ficient. 

61 See | p. 123] above. 

53 Two Ltrs, Smith to Devinck, 26 Oct 43, 
AFHQ 01 00/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Fr Corres; Ltr, 
Bethouart to Gammell, 1 May 44, AFHQ 0100/12C 
G-3 Div Ops Corres From Fr; Ltr, Gammell to 
Bethouart, 14 May 44, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div 
Ops Fr Rearmt. 



PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM: I 



161 



It was with respect to the units respon- 
sible for maintaining internal security that, 
in the opinion of General Loomis, the pro- 
vision of material assistance was wholly 
justified. He urged that these troops, then 
inadequately equipped, be furnished suffi- 
cient materiel to enable them, should the 
need arise, to carry out their duties satis- 
factorily. The forthcoming departure from 
North Africa of the bulk of the French ex- 
peditionary forces made this course of ac- 
tion all the more necessary. AFHQ imme- 
diately endorsed General Loomis' recom- 
mendation and requested the French mili- 
tary authorities to prepare and submit ap- 
propriate requisitions for consideration by 
the CCS. The new project was intended 
to provide generally for supplies of an ex- 
pendable nature to be used for the main- 
tenance of the clothing and equipment, 
French as well as German and Italian, cur- 
rently in the hands of the troops concerned 
and for which U.S. maintenance materials 
were available. When the French requisi- 
tions were received and screened by the 
JRC, General Wilson cabled a request on 
8 June for supplies consisting largely of raw 
materials and representing a total estimated 
at from 3,000 to 3,500 tons semiannually. 53 

The French felt that the internal security 
units needed also more arms. At their re- 
quest, General Wilson urged the British 
Chiefs of Staff and the CCS to authorize 
the transfer to them of 100 Crusader tanks 
and 30 armored cars, all obsolescent, with 
sufficient spare parts for six months. The 
British Chiefs of Staff agreed to the pro- 
posed transfer provided the French clearly 
understood that the British Army accepted 

,:l Memo, Loomis for Dever, 15 May 44, JRC 
902/1 Rearmt Plan: Msg F-66424, Wilson to 
TROOPERS, 30 Jun 44, JRC Cable Log; Msg, 
Wilson to CCS, 8 Jun 44, NAF 691. 



no continuing liability for the maintenance 
of the vehicles once the initial provision of 
spare parts had been exhausted. 54 

It was not until 1 July that the CCS fi- 
nally approved the request for the provision 
to internal security troops of 3,000-3,500 
tons of materials semiannually. They made 
it clear that their approval did not consti- 
tute authority for the issue of additional or- 
ganizational and individual equipment. At 
the end of the month they authorized the 
proposed transfer of obsolescent British ve- 
hicles, such transfer to take place approxi- 
mately ninety days before the departure 
from North Africa of the last British, French, 
or U.S. unit equipped with tanks and ar- 
mored cars. As the last Allied unit of this 
type was due to leave within ninety days, 
General Wilson recommended and obtained 
approval that the proposed transfer be ef- 
fected forthwith. 55 

The French, in the meantime, had re- 
quested and General Wilson had subse- 
quently agreed, that the CCS be asked to 
approve the further transfer of American 
half-tracks, forty M3's and twenty-four M2's 
in all, with which to effect the motoriza- 
tion of the units due to receive the tanks. 
Motorization, they had explained, would 
enable the units to extend their radius of 
action and increase their mobility. The 
CCS approved the proposal on 1 1 August, 
with the proviso that the transfer be made 
concurrent with that of the British tanks and 
armored cars. 56 



'"•Msg, Wilson to CCS and COS, 15 Jun 44, 
NAF 714; Msg F-66424 cited in 53; Msg 3256, 
AMSSO to AFHQ, 22 Jun 44, AFHQ 0100/12C 
G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt. 

55 Msg, CCS to Wilson, 1 Jul 44, FAN 375; Msg, 
CCS to Wilson, 31 Jul 44, FAN 714; Msg, Wilson 
to CCS, 6 Aug 44, NAF 757. 

M Msg, Wilson to CCS, 19 Jul 44, NAF 753 ; Msg, 
CCS to Wilson, 11 Aug 44, FAN 388. 



162 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



The delivery to the security units of the 
tanks, armored cars, half-tracks, and mainte- 
nance materials followed close on the heels 
of the CCS approval. With this materiel, 
the units, within a short time, were in a 
position considered favorable should they be 
called upon to engage in operations for the 
maintenance of internal security. It is well 
to note here that throughout the ensuing 
months their duties remained light. No de- 
velopment occurred significant enough to 



warrant their employment, at least while 
the war in Europe was in progress. 57 

"'Just after the war ended, on 11 May 1945, 
severe rioting broke out at Setif, Algeria. Forty 
Europeans were killed by natives. Rioting was fol- 
lowed by disturbances including the burning of 
outlying European farms. The Sovereignty forces 
quickly gained control of the situation. To rein- 
force them, the French authorities, with the ap- 
proval of SHAEF, moved a few combat units from 
France to North Africa. Msg 4237, Lewis to 
SHAEF, FWD, 11 May 45, AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 
Div Ops Fr Movements. 



CHAPTER X 



Phase IV of the Program 

(February-October 1944) 
II: Implementation 



Equipping the Units on the ANVIL 
Troop List 

While revisions of the 23 January Plan 
were being effected and secondary programs 
initiated, implementation of Phase IV was 
proceeding at a pace that quickened as the 
launching of Anvil drew near. 

On 18 March AFHQ requested the 
French High Command to nominate spe- 
cific units for inclusion in the Anvil troop 
list, and to indicate for each the respective 
U.S. or French table of organization and 
equipment, its strength in personnel and 
vehicles, present location, status of equip- 
ment, and date of readiness. Within a few 
days the French General Staff submitted the 
necessary information on the basis of which 
AFHQ immediately established and subse- 
quently published, on 1 April, the official 
French troop list. The troop list actually 
incorporated all of the units included in the 
rearmament program. On 17 April the 
French headquarters informed AFHQ that 
General de Gaulle had officially appointed 
General de Lattre de Tassigny to command 
the French Anvil forces. 1 



The American Anvil forces comprised 
the Seventh U.S. Army, commanded by 
Maj. Gen. Alexander M. Patch, also Com- 
manding General, Force 163. General 
Patch, under whose control the French 
forces were to operate during the initial 
phase of Anvil, was watching the progress 
of their equipping with considerable inter- 
est. At his direction, Headquarters, Force 
163, on 5 April, instructed NATOUSA to 
make sure that participating French units 
would be equipped and maintained on ex- 
actly the same scale as corresponding U.S. 
organizations. All logistical and other plans 
were being prepared accordingly. 2 

Aware that some U.S. tables of organi- 
zation and equipment were currently being 
modified, G-3, AFHQ, voiced the opinion 
that any attempt at this juncture to change 
in a like manner the corresponding French 
tables would result in confusion and delay 
in readying units for combat. Instead, G-3 
recommended that the JRC be asked to de- 
termine, with the assistance of all inter- 
ested staff sections, the minimum require- 
ments of equipment involved in each re- 



1 Memo, Gen Noce To All Concerned, 16 Mar 
44, ASF Planning Div Files, A-47-1 92 Theater Br 
!5 — Fr Military NA ; Ltr, Gammell to Giraud, 18 
Mar 44, JRC 320/004 Orgn of Fr Army (1 Jan 
44) ; Memos, Noce for Liaison Sec AFHQ, 30 Mar 



44, ahd G-3 AFHQ To All Concerned, 29 May 44, 
AFHQ 0100/1 2D G-3 Div Ops, Vol. I; Ltr, 
Bethouart to Wilson, 17 Apr 44, AFHQ 0100/12C 
G-3 Div Ops Fr Forces in Anvil, Vol. I. 

2 Memo, Hq Force 163 for CG NATOUSA, 5 
Apr 44, AFHQ AG 400-1 Fr Sups. 



164 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



vised U.S. table, and to establish a method 
of obtaining the necessary additional equip- 
ment for the French. opposed the pro- 
posal on the ground that changes in U.S. 
tables would bring about a "continual del- 
uge" of requests from the French for addi- 
tional equipment without their turning in 
the materiel made surplus also as a result of 
changes. The JRC, on the contrary, agreed 
with the recommendation of G-3, and in- 
formed the latter that a procedure had al- 
ready been established by which the War 
Department, upon the recommendation of 
the theater commander, obtained from the 
MAB the assignment of the minimum 
equipment required. 3 

On 17 June Headquarters, Force 163, in- 
dicated the dates by which French units were 
to be ready and requested NATOUSA to 
ensure that they would be fully equipped 
before their release to Force 163. SOS 
being vitally interested in the matter, its 
chief, Maj. Gen. Thomas B. Larkin, rec- 
ommended a number of measures. He sug- 
gested that SCAMA, the JRC, and French 
headquarters be briefed sufficiently in the 
operation to know what troops must be 
equipped, in what order of priority, and 
how soon; that French Training Section be 
requested to perform thorough showdown 
inspections of each unit on the troop list; 
finally, that shortages of equipment be filled, 
first from French stocks and then from U.S. 
stocks. 4 

Representatives from G^l, the JRC, 
NATOUSA, Force 163, and SOS immedi- 
ately took up General Larkin's recommenda- 

J Memos, Noce for JRC, 3 Jun 44, G-4 for JRC, 
6 Jun 44, and Loomis for G-3, 6 Jun 44, JRC 
320/004 Orgn of Fr Army (1 Jan 44). 

'Memo, Hq Force 163 for CG NATOUSA, 17 
Jun 44, AFHQ AG 400-1 Fr Sups; Memo, Hq SOS 
NATOUSA for CG NATOUSA, 19 Jun 44, Hq 
MTOUSA File, Fr Policy (Feb-Oct 44). 



tions in the course of a series of conferences. 
They agreed first to brief SCAMA and the 
French General Staff. General Leyer was 
handed, on 23 June, a priority list of the 
units, program as well as nonprogram, to 
be fully equipped, trained, and made ready. 
Later General Loomis suggested to him that 
each organization be asked to submit requi- 
sitions for shortages to SCAMA, and that 
SCAMA be directed to issue all items avail- 
able in French stocks and to forward con- 
solidated requisitions to SOS for the remain- 
ing shortages. He promised that both the 
French Training Section and the Stock Con- 
trol Section of the JRC, which he supervised, 
would furnish all possible assistance in this 
connection. 5 

Meanwhile, a large part of the equipment 
ordered from the United States under Phase 
IV had been assigned and delivered to 
North Africa. Only a small amount re- 
mained to be shipped. In a message dated 
23 June, General Devers requested the War 
Department to float "on highest priority" 
all the rest of the equipment then awaiting 
shipment at ports and depots in the United 
States. The French units, he explained, 
were to be used in scheduled operations; it 
was urgent, therefore, that everything be 
done to reduce their shortages, particularly 
of critical items not available in theater 
stocks. The War Department replied that 
the necessary action was being taken and 
announced that the MAB had just assigned 
items omitted from previous assignments be- 
cause of nonavailability at the time. Simul- 
taneously, NATOUSA turned over to the 
French, in pursuance of earlier agreements 
with the War Department, substantial 
amounts of equipment available in U.S. 

5 Memo, Loomis for Leyer, 23 Jun 55, Hq 
MTOUSA File, Fr Policy; Memo, Loomis for Leyer, 
6 Jul 44, JRC 400.1/009 Sup of Forces Designated 
for Combat. 



PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM: II 



165 



stocks in North Africa, especially items 
required for the further training of troops." 

On 7 July General Bethouart, then on a 
brief visit in Washington with General de 
Gaulle, called on General Marshall to dis- 
cuss with him the general situation of 
French rearmament. He urged that the 
rest of the materiel needed to complete the 
equipment of the fourth armored and the 
sixth infantry divisions be assigned without 
delay. The U.S. Chief of Staff promptly 
referred the matter to General Devers and 
asked whether it was the theater's inten- 
tion to order any additional equipment over 
and above that delivered for the five in- 
fantry and three armored divisions. Gen- 
eral Devers replied that all essential equip- 
ment required for pending operations had 
been ordered and, in fact, should arrive on 
time if action already initiated was com- 
pleted as scheduled. It was true, he ex- 
plained, that some materiel had not been 
ordered, but only because of the decision 
of the theater not to maintain organiza- 
tions in the program for which the French 
High Command did not seem to have 
enough personnel. General Devers then 
offered a word of caution in connection 
with the presence in Washington of Gen- 
erals de Gaulle and Bethouart. The French 
had just submitted several requests, which 
AFHQ had ignored, for equipping units 
to be activated from personnel expected to 
become available in continental France. It 
would be well, General Devers recom- 
mended, if General Marshall refrained 
from making any commitments based on 
statements made by Bethouart or de Gaulle 
without the theater's comments. 7 

"Msgs FX-63398, Devers to AGWAR, 23 Jun 
44, and W-57516, AGWAR to Devers, 28 Jun 44, 
JRC 903 Requests for Units; Msg W-57137, Som- 
ervell to Devers, 28 Jun 44, JRC Gable Log. 

T Memo, Bethouart for Somervell, 6 Jul 44, OPD 



By the beginning of August, no signifi- 
cant items of equipment for which the 
theater had cabled requisitions to Washing- 
ton remained unassigned. Moreover, all 
items assigned had been shipped, received 
in North Africa, and turned over to the 
French along with the materiel available 
locally. Yet, the various inspections con- 
ducted in the preceding weeks by French 
Training Section had revealed some star- 
tling and disturbing deficiencies. At a time 
when the launching of Operation Anvil 
was getting dangerously close, some units 
were reported to be still short an appre- 
ciable amount of initial equipment, with 
the result that much of their personnel had 
not been trained. Worse yet, several units — 
all supporting service organizations — had 
not even been activated. These were in- 
deed serious matters, creating a situation 
likely to jeopardize the successful employ- 
ment of the French in Anvil. The prob- 
lems involved were familiar ones: lack of 
technicians and shortages of equipment. 

Service Troops and the Lack of Technicians 

Activation of the units necessary to imple- 
ment the 23 January Plan in its entirety 
was bound to create for the French mili- 
tary authorities insuperable difficulties 
owing to the continued dearth of techni- 
cians and specialists. The elimination of 
two divisions and the deferment of two 
more had not produced the expected num- 
ber of skilled troops. The inability of the 
French High Command to organize in par- 
ticular base units for the support of their 
forces in Italy forced a re-examination of 
the entire question of service troops. 

400 France, Sec IV; Msg W-61762, Marshall to 
Devers, 7 Jul 44, JRC 903 Requests for Units; 
Msg FX-70274, Devers to Marshall, 8 Jul 44, 
SHAEF Mission to France 475 Rearmt Plan and 
Policy, Ground, 900-1. 



166 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



It will be recalled that, by the end of Jan- 
uary, the French still had not made avail- 
able to Peninsular Base Section in Naples 
any of the units necessary for the operation 
of Base 901, the French subsection of PBS. K 
On 3 February General Loomis requested 
General Leyer to nominate at least some of 
the required units as their presence in Italy 
was urgently needed. On the same day he 
complained to General Larkin of continued 
hesitation on the part of the French in pro- 
viding units for PBS in spite of several con- 
ferences with them on the subject. If his 
latest communication to General Leyer did 
not produce immediate results, he intended 
to take the matter up with General Giraud 
or General de Gaulle. 9 

General Leyer promptly promised that 
some units would be made available by the 
end of February and others activated at a 
later date. What rendered their organi- 
zation difficult, he explained, was the exten- 
sive reshuffling of personnel and equipment 
then going on in the army as a result of the 
application of the January Plan. 10 The 
Poste de Statistique, or Statistical Branch, of 
the General Staff was working feverishly to 
effect the necessary transfers. 11 General 
Leyer hoped that an accurate report on 
readiness for combat could be prepared by 
the end of February, when sufficient ad- 
justments would have been effected. 12 

By this time the French military authori- 
ties were making frantic efforts to find quai- 

8 See |p, 146| above. 

Memos, Loomis for Leyer, 3 Feb 44, and for 
Larkin, 3 Feb 44, JRC 370/003 Employment of 
Sv Units. 

10 Memo, Leyer for Loomis, 4 Feb 44, JRC 370/ 
003 Employment of Sv Units. 

11 It had been established in March 1943 for 
the purpose of allotting U.S. materiel to the units 
designated for activation in first priority. 

13 Memo, Lt Atlas Cheek, Jr., for Col Crump, 15 
Feb 44, JRC 905.6/1 Corres on Statistics of Rearmt. 



ified service troops for their many commit- 
ments. Most of the divisional and corps 
service units were activated. General Leyer 
also had succeeded in assigning approxi- 
mately 8,000 additional effectives for duty 
with the French bases at Oran and Casa- 
blanca. But he still was faced with the 
problem of activating the army base and 
other service units provided for under the 
January Plan, and of assigning additional 
technicians and specialists to SCAMA, 
depots, and warehouses. Further aggravat- 
ing his difficulties, AFHQ was urging him 
to activate two ordnance maintenance bat- 
talions in addition to the ordnance units re- 
quired under the January Plan. General 
Loomis informed him that the need for these 
battalions was urgent; without them, 
French forces participating in Anvil would 
have inadequate fourth and fifth echelon 
maintenance of artillery and armored ve- 
hicles. General Leyer flatly rejected the 
proposal on the ground that he could not 
undertake this additional commitment. 
All present reserves of specialists as well as 
troops in training and available at a later 
date, he explained, would be absorbed by 
service units already on the program. 13 

Intervening directly in the matter, Gen- 
eral Giraud, on 3 March, informed General 
Wilson that the current general lack of 
service troops made it impossible for his 
headquarters to assign to PBS as many units 
as desirable for the support of the French 
forces in Italy." A few days later, in the 
course of a meeting with Generals Wilson 
and Devers, Giraud warned that the same 

"Memo, Loomis for Larkin, 3 Feb 44, JRC 
370/003 Employment of Sv Units; Memos, Loomis 
for Leyer, 5 Feb 44, and Leyer for Loomis, 1 1 Feb 
44, JRC 904 Modification of Rearmt. 

11 Ltr, Giraud to Wilson, 3 Mar 44, JRC 370/003 
Employment of Sv Units. 



PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM: II 



167 



lack of service troops would prevent the or- 
ganization of the army and base services re- 
quired for Anvil. Reiterating his often- 
expressed conviction that it was "a pity to 
waste excellent combat troops by converting 
them into service units in which duty they 
were poor," he urged that the U.S. Army 
make every effort to furnish men for the 
services, thus permitting him to put more 
men in combat units. General Devers re- 
plied that the U.S. Army itself was short 
10,000 men to meet its own service require- 
ments in the theater. He voiced the hope 
that the French Army, after landing on the 
Continent, would find competent personnel 
to meet the requirements for service techni- 
cians. In the meantime he recognized that 
the U.S. Army would have to provide troops 
for the port and lines of communications, 
but would provide none for corps services. 15 
In the apparent belief that General 
Devers' statement left the door open for a 
more generous provision of U.S. service 
units, the French High Command, on 17 
March, sounded out AFHQ on the matter, 
only to be told that General Devers had 
not meant that commitments made in Jan- 
uary with respect to the Anvil troop list 
were to be modified. The January agree- 
ment constituted the basis of the current 
program. The program itself had been for- 
mally acted upon by the CCS; it should 
therefore be considered as "firm and still 
binding." 16 The next day General Devers 
himself clarified his statement in the course 
of an interview with General Giraud. The 
U.S. Army, he asserted, would assist to the 
fullest possible extent in providing certain 

15 Min Mtg, Giraud and Devinck with Wilson 
and Devers, 9 Mar 44, AFHQ CAO 1202 Bigot 
Anvil, Pt. I. 

le Min Mtg, Devinck with Rooks and Noce, 17 
Mar 44, AFHQ 0100/1 2A G-3 Div Ops Bigot Fr. 



port and base service units but it could not 
do more. 17 

There were sound reasons why General 
Devers' offer of limited assistance could not 
be extended further. He had sought, 
earlier in January, to obtain from the War 
Department the assignment of some U.S. 
service units to the French. General Mar- 
shall had informed him that the War De- 
partment "specifically decided and di- 
rected" that service units for support of 
French troops as requested by him could 
not and would not be provided. 18 

With the issue now closed, the French 
High Command endeavored to fulfill its 
commitments to the limit of available man- 
power. At the end of March a few service 
units were ready for movement to Italy. 
By special agreement between AFHQ and 
General Giraud, they were being assigned 
to General Juin's CEF for employment with 
Base 901 . On 23 April the base was placed 
under the command of a general officer, 
Brig. Gen. Jean Gross, himself under the 
operational control of PBS. At the end 
of May and during the first two weeks of 
June, more service units were assigned to 
the CEF for employment, at the discretion 
of General Juin, with either the corps it- 
self or Base 901. 13 

That the French military authorities did 
not reopen the issue with respect to tech- 
nical troops does not mean that they suc- 
ceeded in activating all the required units. 
Already at the end of March they had an- 
nounced that they were unable, for the 
moment, to organize a number of units, 

"Min Mtg, Giraud with Devers, 18 Mar 44, 
AFHQ 0100/1 2A G-3 Div Ops Bigot Fr. 

15 Msgs W-9779, Devers to Marshall, 10 Jan 44, 
and 2704, Marshall to Devers, 17 Mar 44, OPD 
Cable Files. 

10 Dir, Hq PBS, 1 Apr 44, JRG 370/003 Em- 
ployment of Sv Units; CEF Reds, File 88, OCMH. 



168 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



among which were three general hospitals 
then on the 23 January Plan. The order 
of battle of the CEF as of 22 May 1944, 
when the corps was at the peak of its 
strength, shows that the U.S. Army had 
been forced to place at its disposal a con- 
siderable number of supporting units both 
combat and service. Practically all the 
corps field artillery and antiaircraft units 
were American. 20 

At the end of June, with preparations for 
Anvil in full swing and the launching of 
the operation itself only a few weeks away, 
a report on the equipment status of the 
service units on the troop list revealed that 
as many as forty such units had not yet 
been activated. The French "division 
slice" was currently being estimated at 
32,500 men instead of the required 40,000. 
On the basis of eight divisions it was feared 
that the French would lack approximately 
60,000 service personnel needed to permit 
operation as an independent force. There 
was little doubt that the American Army 
would be compelled, as it had been in 
Italy, to make available substantial service 
troops of its own to the French expedition- 
ary units if the latter were to be supported 
adequately in operations. In recognition 
of a situation which the French High Com- 
mand was not likely to correct in time, the 
earlier stringent policy as contained in Gen- 
eral Marshall's message of 17 March to 
General Devers was modified on 14 June. 
The War Department agreed that until 
French communications zone troops be- 
came available, U.S. Army service units 
could be employed "in indirect support of 
French combat organizations, but only when 

L '" Msg F-25964, Devers to AGWAR, 1 Apr 44, 
ASF International Div Files A-45-192 Cables, 
Vol. IX: Fifth Army History, Pt. V, pp. 251-56. 



such organizations were employed together 
with U.S. combat troops in operations un- 
der U.S. command, and when such support 
was incidental to the major mission of sup- 
porting U.S. combat units." 21 

Meanwhile, AFHQ officials were re- 
doubling their efforts to induce the French 
High Command to activate forthwith all 
the remaining required service units. Their 
patience was severely tried when they were 
informed in early August that the French 
were planning to delay the activation of a 
number of organizations, mostly truck bat- 
talions and ordnance maintenance com- 
panies, w 7 hile at the same time they were re- 
questing equipment for infantry and other 
units not on the troop list. General Gam- 
mell seized the opportunity to remind them 
that any reduction of the number of service 
units or any delay in their readiness would 
have serious repercussions in the pursuit 
of the war. For this reason no considera- 
tion could be given to new requests for 
armament while such a situation existed. 22 

In mid-August, as Anvil was about to 
be launched, the situation with respect to 

2! Mcmo, Hq Force 163 for SACMED, 21 Jun 
44, AFHQ AG 400-1 Fr Sups; Memo, Col J. 
Terrence for Gen Noce, 30 Jun 44, AFHQ 0100/ 
12C Div Ops Fr Comd Liaison 2; Quotation from 
Msg W -50668, Marshall to Devers, 14 Jun 44, 
AFHQ 01 00/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Fr Equip. 

The "division slice" consists of the total strength 
of the division plus the number of troops involved 
in maintaining the division in the field, that is to 
say, corps, army, army group, and communica- 
tions zone troops. It is determined by dividing 
the theater strength (minus air forces) by the num- 
ber of divisions in the theater. The normal divi- 
sion slice for the U.S. forces operating in Europe 
in 1944 was estimated at 40,000, made up as 
follows: 15,000 in the division itself; 15,000 corps 
and army troops; 10,000 communications zone 
troops. 

= 2 Ltr, Gammcll to Juin, 15 Aug 44, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Corres; see |p. 1VL 
above. 



PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM: II 



169 



service units was far from satisfactory. 
Some units were insufficiently manned, 
others were only partially equipped and 
trained, others had not even been activated. 
There was no alternative but for the U.S. 
Seventh Army to direct its own service units 
to assume such support of the French forces 
as the French High Command was unable 
to provide. 

Shortages of Equipment 

As Phase IV opened, the problem of 
shortages, which had plagued the French 
for many months, was facing them with un- 
diminished gravity. Reports currently 
being received from Italy indicated that 
units were still arriving without essential 
items of equipment. The reasons were 
many. 

Not all the equipment expected from the 
United States had been or was being re- 
ceived in North Africa. Some items were 
unobtainable; others were deleted by the 
War Department because they were con- 
sidered nonessential, or because their ship- 
ment would jeopardize other commitments. 
Sometimes, initial equipment arrived with- 
out some of the required 30-day mainte- 
nance items or 6-month spare parts. At 
other times, the French failed to submit 
proper and timely requisitions, or the equip- 
ment was ordered by the JRC on the basis 
of U.S. tables of organization and equip- 
ment for units activated on different tables. 
Furthermore, of the materiel actually re- 
ceived, the French were diverting substan- 
tial amounts to equip nonprogram units, 
run depots and training centers, or maintain 
units during their period of training, a pe- 
riod extending not infrequently over several 
months. Finally, and not the least impor- 



tant, the order of priority for the readying 
of alerted units and the corresponding dates 
of readiness were subject to sudden changes 
by order of AFHQ. 2a 

The French supply system, which still had 
not progressed to a point where it could 
handle even routine matters smoothly, was 
seriously taxed by the unexpected. In spite 
of considerable juggling of equipment, in- 
volving at times the complete and hasty 
turnover of materiel from one unit to an- 
other, the French military authorities were 
continually faced with the alternative of 
calling on SOS to complete the initial equip- 
ment and basic loads of alerted units or of 
embarking the units improperly equipped. 
Greatly concerned over the situation, Amer- 
ican officials in the theater undertook to sur- 
vey its causes with a view to devising ade- 
quate remedial measures. 

The submission by the French of requi- 
sitions for initial equipment still appeared 
to be a source of considerable difficulty to 
them. To clear up some of the technical 
problems involved, a conference, called at 
the suggestion of the French themselves, was 
held on 17 February between members of 
the JRC and French G-4 officers respon- 
sible for the submission of requisitions. The 
conferees discussed and finally agreed on a 
satisfactory procedure. They agreed fur- 
ther that the requisitions would serve to 
complete the equipment of the units desig- 
nated for combat. The materiel to be req- 
uisitioned was to replace that previously 
drawn from program units and diverted for 

23 Memo, Charpentier To All Concerned, 21 Feb 
44, JRC 400.1/009 Sup of Forces Designated for 
Combat; Memo, Director International Div for 
CG North African Theater, 25 May 44, JRC 903 
Requests for Units ; Memo, G— 4 Sup Br for ACofS 
G-4 SOS, 18 Jun 44, Hq MTOUSA File, Fr 
Policy. 



170 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



various purposes; it would also be used to 
re-equip units after combat. 24 

Having been informed by General 
Loomis on 19 February that the French 
had not requisitioned any additional ma- 
jor ordnance items for replacements, Gen- 
eral Larkin once again inferred that they 
were depending on the United States for 
maintenance of their units in North Africa 
and elsewhere. The French, he pointed 
out, still were not providing full initial equip- 
ment for departing units, as evidenced by 
two new cases just reported. One artillery 
regiment had reached Italy equipped with 
only one pair of shoes per man, and with 
three of its twelve 155-mm. guns not in 
working condition; a training center had ar- 
rived short of tents and training equipment. 
Warning that the Fifth Army stocks would 
soon be depleted if emergency issues to in- 
adequately equipped troops were allowed to 
continue, General Larkin urged that the 
JRC arrange to have every French organi- 
zation about to depart from North Africa 
inspected by U.S. officers to ensure com- 
pleteness of equipment. General Loomis 
objected that such a procedure was not prac- 
ticable owing to lack of personnel. He 
pointed out that the U.S. advisers with 
French divisions were already submitting 
weekly reports to the JRC indicating what 
shortages existed. The attention of the 
French had been drawn to the matter and 
he felt certain that the situation would soon 
improve. 25 

24 Memo, Regnault for Loomis, 7 Jan 44, JRC 
402 Sup Policy; Min, Conf AFHQ, 17 Feb 44, JRC 
400.1/009 Sup of Forces Designated for Combat. 

!S Msg 53748, Loomis to Larkin, 19 Feb 44, JRC 
402 Sup Policy; Msg L-1635, Larkin to Loomis, 20 
Feb 44, JRC Cable Log; Msgs L-1603, Larkin to 
JRC, 20 Feb 44, and 55172, Loomis to Larkin, 22 
Feb 44, JRC 400.1/009 Sup of Forces Designated 
for Combat. 



General Loomis immediately informed 
General Leyer of the great concern currently 
felt by Generals Larkin and Devers regard- 
ing the question of shortages. He reiterated 
that responsibility for the completion of 
equipment of units alerted for movement 
rested solely with the French High Com- 
mand. 26 Realizing that only energetic ac- 
tion taken without delay could solve the 
problem, Maj. Gen. Daniel Noce, G— 3, 
AFHQ, called Generals Larkin (SOS), 
Loomis (JRC), Kingman (French Train- 
ing Section), and others for a conference 
on 4 March. General Larkin repeated his 
earlier recommendation that units be com- 
pletely inspected before leaving North 
Africa in order to determine shortages. 
"Someone has to decide whether they are 
battle-fit," he insisted. This, explained 
Generals Loomis and Kingman, was being 
done. Inspections, however, were in 
French hands and the responsibility for 
completeness of equipment, they believed, 
should remain French. Once in the field, 
the units reported shortages to the U.S. 
teams attached to them by General King- 
man. In some instances, they claimed to be 
short certain items of equipment, when in 
fact the French tables of organization and 
equipment under which they were equipped 
did not call for them. In other cases, the 
responsible authorities had not received the 
new French table in time. The conferees 
agreed that efforts should be made to ex- 
pedite the printing and distribution to all 
units of the exact table under which each 
was to operate. After the conference, 
AFHO informed General Clark, Com- 
manding General, Fifth Army, that diffi- 
culties incidental to shortages appeared to 
be due largely to lack of knowledge of the 

M Memos, Loomis for Leyer, 25, 26 Feb 44, JRC 
400.1/009 Sup of Forces Designated for Combat. 



PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM: II 



171 



appropriate tables of organization and 
equipment under which French units were 
organized and equipped. Copies of these 
tables were being prepared in sufficient 
quantity and would be forwarded to his 
headquarters without delay. 27 

On 8 March, the War Department issued 
a directive on the replacement and main- 
tenance of equipment for the French forces. 
The directive embodied and formalized the 
several actions taken earlier. It set forth 
in detail the manner in which shortages of 
initial equipment and of replacement and 
maintenance items were to be requisitioned 
for both combat and noncombat units, and 
prescribed the accounting procedure to be 
followed for each category of items. The 
procedure remained in force until June 
when it was revised to conform with new 
War Department policies. 28 

In spite of vigorous action on the part of 
French and Allied headquarters, the prob- 
lem of shortages continued to be a thorny 
one. In early April the U.S. Fifth Army in- 
formed General Devers that two pioneer 
(labor) regiments had arrived in Italy 
"with such large number of initial shortages 
as to be impractical to list by cable." In 
mid-April an inspection of the 1st Motor- 
ized Infantry Division about to depart for 
Italy revealed important shortages of mor- 
tars, machine guns, radio sets, trucks, and 
other items. The division, until recently 
British-equipped, had been re-equipped 
with U.S. materiel largely drawn from 
"nonparticipating" units. These were the 
units not designated by AFHQ for immedi- 

27 Msg 60678, CinC to Fifth Army, 6 Mar 44, 
AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt; Msg 
2345, Fifth Army to CinC AFHQ, 21 Mar 44, JRC 
Cable Log. 

28 Ltr, WD AG 400 (8 Mar 44) to CG 
NATOUSA and CG N.Y. Port of Embarkation, 14 
Mar 44, amended by Ltr, WD AG 400 (7 Jul), 
1 1 Jul 44, JRC 402 Sup Policy. 



ate participation in operations. Among 
them were the 1st and 5 th Armored Divi- 
sions, both program units and both on the 
Anvil troop list, but whose presence was not 
required in Italy. The 1st DMI was still 
holding some British equipment (such as 
mortars, Brens, tents, wreckers) besides 
French and Italian materiel. Fifth Army, 
having no maintenance facilities, parts, and 
ammunition for such non-U. S. equipment, 
requested AFHQ to effect its immediate 
replacement. It was not until the middle of 
April that the division, then on its way to 
Italy, was reported as having all its initial 
U.S. equipment except antiaircraft weap- 
ons. 29 

Simultaneously with the 1st DMFs de- 
parture from North Africa, the 2d Armored 
was being readied for shipment to the 
United Kingdom, there to be included in 
the forces designated for the cross-Channel 
operation (Overlord). The CCS had 
agreed at the Trident Conference in May 

1943 that a token French force would par- 
ticipate in Overlord. 30 In late January 

1944 the Allied command had further de- 
cided that French elements would be in- 
cluded among the first troops to enter Paris. 
The 2d DB had subsequently been chosen 
for this honor by the French military au- 
thorities. This division, like the 1st DMI, 
was once British-equipped and had now 
been rearmed with U.S. materiel. It 
moved to the United Kingdom in mid- 
April with approximately 100 percent of 
its initial equipment and basic loads, plus 

29 Msgs 2245, Fifth Army to CG NATOUSA, 3 
Apr 44, RFTS 101, Inspection Team to CG Fifth 
Army, 19 Apr 44, 8321, Fifth Army to CG AFHQ, 
10 Apr 44, and F-35027, CinC AFHQ to Allied 
Armies in Italy, 20 Apr 44, JRC 400.1/009 Sup 
of Forces Designated for Combat. 

30 Min, 5th Mtg with President and Prime Min- 
ister, 24 May 43, Trident Conf. 



172 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



a 30-day supply of tank replacements. 31 
While in the United Kingdom, the division 
became the supply and training responsi- 
bility of the U.S. Third Army, under whose 
control it was placed, and was maintained 
in the same manner as U.S. divisions. Third 
Army determined the exact status of its 
equipment and submitted requisitions to 
SOS, ETOUSA, operating in the United 
Kingdom, for the few existing shortages. 
These were filled from U.S. Army stocks 
in the theater and all transfers of materiel 
were reported by chiefs of services in ac- 
cordance with current lend-lease direc- 
tives. 32 

Another division about to depart for 
overseas duty was the 9th Colonial Infan- 
try. Its destination was Corsica, liberated 
in September 1943 by French troops, where 
it was to prepare for future operations in 
the Mediterranean. 

The final equipping of the 1st DMI, 2d 
DB, and 9th DIC had necessitated the fill- 
ing of numerous shortages. This had been 
accomplished by securing the missing items 
from one of the following sources, in order 
of precedence: from French sources other 
than nonparticipating units, that is, from all 
stocks available to the French; from 
excess U.S. theater stocks; from non- 
participating units; and from U.S. theater 
stocks, provided it did not jeopardize the 
support of U.S. forces. The procedure fol- 
lowed had been that established by NA- 
TOUSA on 7 April. 33 SCAMA, SOS, and 

31 Msg F-34203, Devers to AGWAR, 18 Apr 44, 
JRC 400.1/009 Sup of Forces Designated for 
Combat. 

32 Memos, Hq ETOUSA for CG Third Army and 
SOS ETOUSA, 10 May 44, and Hq ETOUSA 
for CG Third Army, 24 Aug 44, SHAEF G-3 
091 France, Vol. I. 

33 Ltr, NATOUSA AG 400/466 D-O, 7 Apr 44, 
JRC 370/001 Employment of Units— Gen. 



Stock Control Section, all had shared in 
the task. 

The procedure as set forth by NATOU- 
SA, although simple in appearance, was, 
when put into application, quite complex 
because of the many channels of communi- 
cation involved. As pointed out later by 
one of the U.S. advisers to the French di- 
visions, to fill a shortage of initial equipment 
might require no less than twenty adminis- 
trative steps. 34 Nevertheless, in spite of its 
complexity, NATOUSA extended its appli- 
cation thereafter to all other units subse- 
quently alerted. 

In mid-April the French began submit- 
ting, at the request of the JRC, a large num- 
ber of requisitions designed to complete as 
fully as possible the initial equipment and 
basic loads of all remaining units on the 
troop list. These requisitions were also de- 
signed to provide, at least for the second 
half of 1944, the minimum maintenance 
requirements of the Territorial establish- 
ments necessary for the support of expedi- 
tionary forces. The requisitions were first 
screened by the JRC, then checked against 
the list of equipment currently available in 
excess theater stocks, which SOS furnished 
at frequent intervals. From these lists the 
JRC extracted the items required and re- 
quested the War Department to authorize 
their transfer. Granting this authorization 
was a routine matter in itself but necessary 
for proper co-ordination with supply agen- 
cies in the United States. NATOUSA 
then arranged for the immediate turnover 
of the equipment. The locally unavailable 
items were requisitioned from the United 
States. 

Feeling that some French requisitions 

34 Memo, Liaison Office Fr Training Sec for 
JRC, 26 May 44, JRC 400.1/009 Sup of Forces 
Designated for Combat. 



PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM: II 



173 



were excessive, General Larkin questioned 
whether the French Supply Services were 
exploiting their own resources to the maxi- 
mum before calling on U.S. theater stocks 
for equipment. He recommended that, ex- 
cept in cases of actual emergency, only 
items listed as "excess" in theater stocks be 
given to the French. The continued issue 
of other items, he feared, would jeopardize 
seriously the American supply situation and, 
in addition, would encourage the French 
to depend too heavily on the U.S. Army for 
completion of initial equipment of both 
alerted and nonparticipating units. 35 Gen- 
eral Loomis, likewise, was disturbed by the 
size of some of the French requisitions, es- 
pecially those submitted for medical items. 
He could not help but feel that they were 
indicative of a desire on the part of the 
French to build up stocks for ultimate use 
in continental France either by the civilian 
population, or by units raised there. 36 

To ensure that the French requisitions 
were fully justified, the JRC subjected them 
to more stringent scrutiny and screening. 
Simultaneously the JRC urged the French 
once again to exploit their own resources to 
the limit. In the case of the units which 
had left North Africa incompletely 
equipped, General Loomis arranged for the 
U.S. base section nearest to them to honor 
the French requisitions as rapidly as possible. 

In late May General Leyer forwarded to 
the JRC a list of requisitions for materiel 
with which to re-equip the 2d DIM and 3d 
DIA after their expected withdrawal from 
the Italian front, in anticipation of their ulti- 
mate engagement in Anvil. General 
Leyer's action was consonant with a recom- 
mendation made several months earlier by 

"Msg L-17212, Larkin to JRC, 26 Apr 44, JRC 
400.1/009 Sup of Forces Designated for Combat. 

38 Memo, Loomis for CofS NATOUSA, 17 Apr 
44, JRC 902/1 Rearmt Plan. 



General Loomis. As the requisitions ap- 
peared to contain for the most part supplies 
normally furnished through SOS as main- 
tenance, General Loomis and SOS agreed 
that they need not be acted upon. They 
then informed General Leyer that SOS 
would assume the responsibility for re-equip- 
ping all French units operating in Italy be- 
fore their engagement in Anvil. 37 

On 16 June Headquarters, NATOUSA, 
issued a final directive on the readying of 
French participating units. The directive 
instructed SOS to see to it that the French 
completed from their own stocks the initial 
equipment and basic loads of each unit be- 
fore it was alerted for movement overseas. 
As the unit was alerted, SOS would issue to 
it from U.S. stocks such supplies as were 
unobtainable from French sources. 38 

The remaining task now was to make ar- 
rangements for the adequate and timely pro- 
vision of the maintenance supplies expected 
to be required in the course of the follow- 
ing twelve months by forces other than ex- 
peditionary units. It will be recalled that 
on 18 January 1944 the CCS had approved 
the issue of some maintenance materials to 
Territorial units and establishments support- 
ing the expeditionary forces and, on 1 July 
of the same year, the provision of 3,000- 
3,500 tons semiannually of maintenance 
materials for the Sovereignty forces. In 
fulfillment of these decisions, the French, 
in mid- July, submitted requisitions covering 
the second half of 1944 and, on 15 Septem- 
ber, those for the first half of 1945. Once 
the requisitions were screened and properly 

35 Ltr, Loomis to Leyer, 22 Jan 44, and Memos. 
Loomis for McKay, 1 Jun 44, Loomis for Leyer, 21 
Jun 44, JRC 400.1/009 Sup of Forces Designated 
for Combat. 

38 Ltr AG 400/466 D-0, Hq NATOUSA to CG 
SOS, 16 Jun 44, JRC 370/001 Employment of 
Units — Gen. 



174 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



cut down in the case of unnecessary items, 
the materiel available in the theater was 
turned over to the French and the rest or- 
dered from the United States. 39 

By the time Anvil was launched, the 
situation with regard to shortages had sub- 
stantially improved. In addition, since 
some units, especially service organizations, 
were not expected to land before D plus 25, 
it was hoped that their shortages would be 
filled by then. At any rate, General Loomis 
was satisfied that the French military au- 
thorities were making a "real effort" to sup- 
ply all available items from their stocks. 
Their task, he recognized, was still greatly 
handicapped by the dearth of competent 
supply personnel and the fact that serious 
shortages and delays in shipments from the 
United States were placing "a tremendous 
burden" on them. 40 

SCAMA's Role During Phase IV 

Throughout Phase IV, SCAMA, ably as- 
sisted by the American Stock Control Sec- 
tion, continued its efforts to assert itself as 
the supreme French supply authority. 41 Its 
difficulties, numerous enough from the start, 
had increased as a result of the application 
of the decree of 16 December 1943 which 
divided military responsibility between the 
Commissioner of War and Air and the Com- 
mander in Chief. 42 In January and early 
February, this responsibility was split fur- 

38 Ltr, Leyer to Loomis, 15 Jul 44, JRC 400.4/ 
006; Memo, Leyer for Loomis, 15 Sep 44, SHAEF 
Mission to Fran ce Requisitions, 1st half of 1945; 
see pp. [Hi] [T6l|, abo ve. 

"Memo, Loomis for G-4 SOS, 12 Sep 44, JRC 
400. 1 /009 Sup of Forces Designated for Combat, 

11 Sources for this section: JRC 400.2/002 Stock 
Control System; History of Stock Control Section, 
JRC, copy in JRC Files. 

" See |p. 118| above. 



ther by the delegation of some authority to 
the General Staff, the heads of services, and 
to a smaller extent to the commander-desig- 
nate of the French Anvil forces. General 
Loomis greatly feared that the establishment 
and continued operation of an effective sup- 
ply organization were next to impossible. 
In his judgment the time had come for the 
French High Command to nominate a gen- 
eral officer armed with sufficient authority 
to correct a situation likely to affect ad- 
versely current and future operations. 43 
The French took no such step, but the ap- 
pointment, later in April, of General 
Bethouart as Chief of Staff of National De- 
fense did result in a centralization of re- 
sponsibility. 

As SCAMA and supply installations 
struggled toward standardization, the 
French General Staff authorized, about 1 
February, certain depot and port units for 
activation one month later. Even though 
these units never materialized, their au- 
thorization served to call attention to the 
need of reinforcing the personnel in depots 
and ports. To fill this need, General Leyer 
recruited additional civilian employees and 
ordered service units of the expeditionary 
corps placed on temporary duty with 
SCAMA while they waited to be shipped 
overseas. In general, the personnel situa- 
tion began to improve in early February 
even though no definite plan had been es- 
tablished. 

On 15 February Maj. Gen. Arthur R. 
Wilson, Commanding General, Mediter- 
ranean Base Section, informed General Lar- 
kin that all U.S. officers assigned to French 
depots were reporting notable improve- 
ments, Progress was further evidenced by 
the fact that the French were now replac- 

" Memo for Red, Loomis, 2 Mar 44, JRC 320/ 
004 Orgn of Fr Army ( 1 Jan 44) . 



PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM: II 



175 



ing in U.S. depots, at an increased rate, 
the items of equipment issued for the main- 
tenance of their forces in Italy. By early 
March, SCAMA's director, Colonel Char- 
pentier, felt that "the worst was over." He 
predicted that the sample inventory sched- 
uled for the second week of March for 
the purpose of checking the accuracy of 
SCAMA's records would show a definite 
improvement. Actually, the inventory did 
reveal substantial errors, in extreme cases 
running as high as 80 percent. The dis- 
covery shocked the French into realization 
of the need for still more energetic action. 

Meanwhile a publication depot at 
SCAMA headquarters had been set up. 
English-French technical dictionaries pre- 
pared especially for each service became 
available. So did a second supply textbook 
written in both languages. French and 
American officers on duty with SCAMA 
were given courses of instruction on the 
new supply system and the correct use of 
forms. Once thoroughly schooled, the 
U.S. officers were posted in French offices 
and warehouses throughout North Africa 
to give on-the-spot assistance on all supply 
matters. Still there were frequent cases 
where French chiefs of services would is- 
sue to their depots directives at variance 
with the SCAMA textbooks. 

By 15 May, when the French were con- 
ducting a general inventory of stocks 
throughout North Africa, it became ap- 
parent that rapid strides in warehousing 
and recording had been made. SCAMA 
had reached a turning point in its exist- 
ence. For the first time it had a fairly 
complete and accurate picture of all stocks 
on hand, with the possible exception of 
ordnance and engineer spare parts. In 
June detailed inspections of all depots con- 
ducted by joint Franco-American teams re- 



vealed that the SCAMA system was in op- 
eration in all warehouses and offices. Es- 
tablishment of SCAMA as the sole supply 
authority in the French Army could at 
last be considered an accomplished fact. 
The system had become sufficiently en- 
trenched to render almost impossible any 
return to the haphazard practices of the 
old days. 

SCAMA extended its activities to the en- 
tire supply field. It was now responsible 
for preparing and submitting requisitions 
to the JRC; for receiving, sorting out, as- 
sembling, and stocking materiel in the va- 
rious depots ; for maintaining supply levels, 
regulating the movement and transport of 
supplies, and keeping proper accounting 
of U.S. materiel according to lend-lease 
regulations. It had full authority to dis- 
tribute equipment in accordance with pri- 
ority lists and tables of organization and 
equipment established by the French High 
Command. If a unit was called forward 
before it was completely equipped, SCAMA 
was empowered to issue to it a "cheque" or 
bill of credit which enabled it to draw the 
necessary items from the U.S. base in the 
theater of its destination. In short, SCA- 
MA had become the SOS of the French 
Army. 44 

By early July Colonel Geraghty, chief of 
Stock Control Section, considered that 
SCAMA could be left to continue its de- 
velopment "along lines natural to the 
French" and that the presence of his section 
was no longer needed. On his recommen- 
dation, Stock Control Section was disbanded 
near the end of the month. But SCAMA 
continued to operate long after the launch- 
ing of Anvil, since much work remained to 

44 Notes from Col Maurice Labarbarie, Jan 52 ; 
Rpt, Col Labarbarie, 18 Jul 44, sub: Functioning 
and Role of G-l SCAMA, copy in OCMH, 



176 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



be done for the supply of the expeditionary 
forces. 

Repossession of U. S. Equipment 

Repossession by the U.S. Army of Amer- 
ican materiel in French hands took place 
in a number of cases and for a variety of 
reasons, all consonant with established pol- 
icies governing French rearmament and 
with the theater's responsibility for ensuring 
the judicious and economical use of all 
American equipment. Frequently the pur- 
pose was to recapture materiel issued in an 
emergency on the understanding that it 
would be returned out of subsequent ship- 
ments to the French. A case in point is the 
return to SOS depots of the tools, spare 
parts, and supplies which SOS had loaned 
to the French in early April 1943 for setting 
up and operating their motor vehicle assem- 
bly plant at Algiers. In this instance, re- 
possession was effected simply by appropri- 
ating the same materials directly from sub- 
sequent convoys bringing equipment for the 
P'rench. 46 

In other cases, particularly numerous dur- 
ing Phase IV, repossession was ordered be- 
cause the materiel in question was consid- 
ered "excess" in French stocks for one of the 
following reasons : it had been delivered by 
error, it was now in the hands of units once 
part of approved troop lists, or American of- 
ficials considered its further use by the 
French no longer justified. In such cases, 
repossession involved considerable difficulty, 
often making it impracticable. The prob- 
lem became particularly acute in April 1 944, 
when a number of units, not likely to be 
activated, were stricken off the troop list. 

"Msgs L-2316, SOS to CG Atlantic Base Sec, 
15 Apr 43, and L-2317, SOS to JRC, 15 Apr 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 



The theater requested from the War Depart- 
ment the authority to instruct the French 
to return to U.S. depots all ordnance equip- 
ment which had then become excess, except 
general-purpose vehicles of which the 
French were still short. The authority was 
immediately granted with the understand- 
ing that proper credit reports would be made 
on all returns and a detailed list of items in- 
volved transmitted to the MAB in Wash- 
ington for information. The French then 
directed SCAMA to effect the necessary re- 
turns. 46 

The operation proved to be more complex 
than had been anticipated. In the first 
place, SOS had no knowledge of just what 
the French were to return. NATOUSA 
asked the War Department for a detailed 
list of all equipment that had actually been 
shipped for the units in question. To com- 
plicate matters, the French had used the 
equipment received on a French table of 
organization basis with the result that the 
materiel currently in the hands of the units 
did not correspond to what had been or- 
dered initially. Finally the French felt that 
they could not return certain items as they 
had used them to fill shortages in other units 
or had given them to training centers. As 
a result a considerable exchange of corre- 
spondence took place during June, July, and 
August between NATOUSA, SOS, the War 
Department, and French headquarters. 
Such items as the French were finally able 
to return were held in SOS depots pending a 
decision on their ultimate disposition. 47 

The confusion was further increased by 
the addition, throughout the early summer 

" Msgs F-34037, Devers to AGWAR, 18 Apr 44, 
and W-26607, Somervell to Devers, 22 Apr 44, 
JRC 909 Surplus Equip. 

" Msg F-47011, Devers to AGWAR, 17 May 44, 
JRC Cable Log; Memo, CG SOS for CG NATOU- 
SA, 2 Jun 44, JRC 909 Surplus Equip. 



PHASE IV OF THE PROGRAM: II 



177 



months, of new units to both the 23 Janu- 
ary Plan and the Air Force program. To 
simplify matters, General Loomis asked the 
French to transfer to these units the greater 
part of the items which had become excess 
as a result of the elimination of others, and 
to keep him informed of such transfers. 48 
Repossession of U.S. equipment was con- 
sonant with the basic principle under which 
French rearmament had operated from the 
beginning, namely, that only approved units 
were entitled to receive and hold Allied 
equipment. The CCS did not fail to re- 
mind the theater commander on 13 August 
that the French were to return the materiel 
in the hands of units no longer on approved 
troop lists. 49 

Disposal of British Equipment 

A minor issue raised at the beginning 
of Phase IV and rapidly settled concerned 
the ultimate disposal of British equipment 
still in the possession of the French. On 
8 February General Wilson, the Supreme 
Allied Commander, requested the French 
military authorities to hand over all such 
equipment to the British Ordnance Services. 
The National Defense Committee immedi- 
ately instructed Le Troquer, the Commis- 
sioner of War and Air, to take the matter up 
with AFHQ and settle it within the frame- 
work of the Protocol of Anglo-French Mu- 
tual Aid recently signed. 50 The protocol 
had laid down that the government of the 

48 Memo, Loomis for Leyer, 5 Jul 44, JRC 909. 
'"Msg, CCS to Wilson, 13 Aug 44, FAN 390. 
'* Memo, Commissioner of War and Air for CinC, 
3 Mar 44, AFHQ AG 400-1 Fr Sups. 



United Kingdom could, after the cessation 
of hostilities, ask for the return of "such ma- 
teriel supplied by it that was not destroyed, 
lost or worn out/' The French military au- 
thorities interpreted this to mean that they 
could continue to use the equipment for the 
duration of the war. Although not intend- 
ing to maintain any organizations equipped 
with British equipment, Le Troquer ex- 
plained to General Wilson that the French 
High Command had "various needs closely 
related to the common war effort" which 
could not be satisfied from American 
sources. 51 This was true, he said, of gen- 
eral-purpose vehicles, tank transporters, and 
spare parts for the maintenance of British 
equipment. To arrive at a satisfactory so- 
lution, Le Troquer suggested that respon- 
sible French and British authorities meet to 
determine what items urgently needed by 
the British should be handed over. Gen- 
eral Wilson having approved the proposal, 
British and French staff officers drew up a 
list of equipment to be replaced in British 
depots and advised General Leyer to com- 
plete the agreed transfer at the earliest pos- 
sible date. 52 With respect to the materiel 
which the French were to keep, General 
Wilson pointed out that the British Army 
could not accept permanent liability for its 
maintenance now that the French forces 
were being re-equipped with U.S. materiel. 
Whenever possible, however, the British 
supply services would make every effort to 
furnish spare parts or provide maintenance. 

" Ibid. 

"Memo, SACMED for EMGG, 18 Mar 44, 
AFHQ AG 400-1 Fr Sups. 



CHAPTER XI 

The North African Forces in Action 



Italy and Other Battlegrounds in the 
Mediterranean 

Vindication of the decisions which had 
led to the arming of the North African 
forces came promptly after their commit- 
ment to battle. Units of the French Expe- 
ditionary Corps, dispatched to Italy as fast 
as they could be equipped and trained, al- 
ready were giving a good account of them- 
selves. More would soon be put to the test 
of combat in anticipation of their ultimate 
employment in Anvil. 

From a two-division corps in January 
1944, CEF had, by 1 May, grown to an 
oversize corps of a strength equivalent to 
nearly five divisions. Its component ele- 
ments were then: the 2d Moroccan In- 
fantry Division, Maj. Gen. Andre Dody; 
the 3d Algerian Infantry Division, Maj. 
Gen. Aime de Goislard de Monsabert; the 
4th Moroccan Mountain Division, Maj. 
Gen. Francois Sevez; the 1st Motorized In- 
fantry Division, Brig. Gen. Charles Brosset; 
the 1st, 3d, and 4th Moroccan Tabor 
Groups, Brig. Gen. Augustin Guillaume; 
and general reserve units comprising two 
regiments of tank destroyers, six battalions 
of artillery, various services, and Base 901. 
Total strength of the corps was approxi- 
mately 105,000 officers and men. 1 This 

1 For details on division and regimental organi- 
zation, fire power, and weapon distribution, see 
Col. Adolphe Goutard, Le Corps Expeditionnaire 
Francois dans la Campagne d'ltalie (1943-1944) 
(Paris: Charles-Lavauzelle, 1947), pp. 5-9. 



figure represented a division slice only 
slightly more than half the size recom- 
mended for the Anvil force (40,000), an 
indication that the French forces still lacked 
supporting combat and service troops. 
While no units of the French Air Force were 
assigned to the direct support of the CEF, 
some squadrons were actively engaged in 
operations as part of the Allied air pool in 
the Mediterranean theater. 2 

Such was the force which, led by General 
Juin, bore the brunt of the offensive 
launched in mid-May by General Clark's 
U.S. Fifth Army for the purpose of break- 
ing through the German troops then solidly 
entrenched in the Gustav Line. In the 
words of General Alexander, Commander 
in Chief, Allied Armies in Italy, the French, 
on 1 1 May, attacked with splended elan 
and "drove like the wind" across the moun- 
tainous terrain between the Liri River and 
the Tyrrhenian Sea. Showing themselves 
quick to exploit each local success, "possibly 
quicker than U.S. and British troops," they 
succeeded, "to the surprise and elation of 
the Allied Command," in overrunning the 
enemy, forcing him to pay a heavy toll in 
casualties and prisoners. 3 Within three days 
they had completed the break-through and 
outflanked the German positions in the Liri 

2 See | Ch. XII| below. 

3 Quotations are from statements made by Field 
Marshal Alexander to Dr. Sidney T. Mathews dur- 
ing an interview in Ottawa, 10-15 January 1949. 



THE NORTH AFRICAN FORCES IN ACTION 



179 




SIENA, ITALY. French troops moving through the streets of Siena, 3 July 1943. 



valley. Their "sensational advance" 4 had 
been a major surprise also to the enemy. 5 
Greatly pleased with the French perform- 
ance, General Devers, on 15 May, cabled to 
General Marshall: "French forces have 
achieved outstanding victory," a statement 

'General Mark W. Clark, Calculated Risk (New 
York: Harper & Brothers, 1950), p. 348. On 
the same page: "For this performance, which was 
to be a key to the success of the entire drive on 
Rome, I shall always be a grateful admirer of Gen- 
eral Juin and his magnificent CEF." Again on 
page 360: "A more gallant fighting organization 
never existed." 

* "The French," wrote Field Marshal Albert 
Kesselring, commander in chief of the opposing 
German forces, "fought with great elan, and ex- 
ploited each local success by concentrating imme- 
diately all available forces at the weakened point." 
Statement in First Evaluation by the CinC South- 
west (Army Group C) of Enemy Tactics During 
the Offensive Since 12 May 1944, dated 19 May 
1944, in Fifth Army History, V, 203. 



followed two days later by a message from 
General Clark himself, addressed also to the 
U.S. Chief of Staff : "French troops are 
fighting splendidly with our American 
materiel." 6 

Having broken through the Gustav Line, 
units of the CEF pursued the enemy relent- 
lessly, disorganized German resistance, and 
continued their rapid advance through the 
mountains south of Rome. After the cap- 
ture of that city by Allied units, on 4 June, 
the French pushed forward to Siena, which 
they seized on 3 July, and drove in the di- 
rection of the Arno River. Just as their first 
elements were reaching a point only a few 
miles from Florence, the order was issued 
for their withdrawal. The rest of the 



" Msg, Devers to Marshall, 15 May 44, CM-IN 
11577; Msg, Clark to Marshall, 17 May 44, OPD 

319.1, Sec V, Case 182. 



180 



REARMING THE FRENCH 




9TH COLONIAL INFANTRY DIVISION disembarking from LCI's for the invasion 
of Elba, 17 June 1944. 



corps had already begun, on 20 June, to 
regroup behind the front line and make 
ready for the forthcoming assault on south- 
ern France. By 23 July the relief of the 
CEF by Allied units had been completed. 
From December 1943, when the first divi- 
sion had been committed, to the final with- 
drawal, the French had sustained a total of 
approximately 30,000 combat casualties (of 
which over a third had been incurred during 
the three-week period of the May offensive) , 
including 5,900 killed and over 24,000 
wounded in action. They had taken more 
than 8,000 prisoners. 7 

7 Figures on losses are taken from Lt. Col. P. 
Santini, "Etude statistique sur les pertes au cours 
de la guerre 1939-1945," Revue du Corps de Sante 
Militaire, X, No. 1 (March, 1954). For a detailed 



Meanwhile other French units had been 
committed to combat elsewhere in the Med- 
iterranean, notably in an amphibious opera- 
tion, known as Brassard, launched against 
the island of Elba in mid-June 1 944. 

Conquest of the island had first been ad- 
vocated by General Giraud in October 1943 
but ruled out at the time by the Allied com- 
mand as premature. Suggested a second 
time by the French Commander in Chief, in 
February 1 944, it had then received the ap- 
proval of AFHQ and planning had begun in 
April. The operation was assigned to Gen- 



account of French participation in Italy for the 
period March-July 1944, see Sidney Mathews, The 
Drive on Rome, a volume in preparation for the 
series UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD 
WAR II ; see also Goutard, op. cit. 



THE NORTH AFRICAN FORCES IN ACTION 



181 





TROOPS ENTERING PORTOFERRAIO, ELBA, 19 June 1944. Destruction was 
caused by Allied bomb attacks. 



eral Martin, then commanding general of 
1st French Corps, with headquarters in 
Corsica, and was carried out by him under 
the general direction of General de Lattre 
de Tassigny, commander-designate of the 
French forces assigned for participation in 
Anvil. General Martin, it will be recalled, 
had, under General Giraud's direction, com- 
manded in September 1943 the all-French 
operation for the liberation of Corsica ( Op- 
eration Vesuvius). 8 

The ground forces taking part in the as- 
sault of Elba were exclusively French. 
With a strength of 12,000 men, they con- 
sisted of approximately two thirds of the 
9th Colonial Infantry Division, corn- 



See p. 101 , above. 



manded by Brig. Gen. Joseph Magnan, one 
group of Moroccan tabors (2d GTM), two 
units of Commandos (Groupe de Com- 
mandos d'Afrique and Bataillon de Choc), 
and supporting antiaircraft and engineer 
units. Assisting the ground elements were 
Allied naval forces, largely British but in- 
cluding several French naval vessels, all 
under the command of Rear Adm. Thomas 
H. Troubridge (RN), and Allied air units 
commanded by Col. Thomas C. Darcy 
(U.S.), among which were two French 
fighter sq u a d r o n s. The operation, 
launched on the night of 16-17 June, rap- 
idly achieved its goal. After two days of 
severe fighting against well-defended posi- 
tions, the French overcame the resistance 



182 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



put up by the German garrison of some 
2,700 men. By the evening of 19 June, 
Elba as well as the neighboring island of 
Pianosa had been entirely liberated. The 
assaulting forces had killed several hundred 
enemy troops, made about 2,000 prisoners, 
and captured more than 60 pieces of artil- 
lery. They had suffered some 900 casual- 
ties including 258 killed in action. 9 

Committed to other operations in the 
Mediterranean under Anglo-American con- 
trol were French air units and naval ves- 
sels. Air squadrons were engaged in con- 
voy and coast protection or in air missions 
preparatory to Anvil. 10 Naval vessels, a 
number of which had been repaired and 
modernized by the Americans and the Brit- 
ish, were carrying out various missions not 
only in the Mediterranean but in other areas 
as well. All were under the operational au- 
thority of the Allied commanders in the re- 
spective theaters of operations. 11 

Yet not all the units on the North African 
rearmament program had been committed 
to action. For some, no employment had 
been found; they were undergoing addi- 
tional training and were kept in readiness 
pending their ultimate engagement in 
Overlord and Anvil. 

France 

OVERLORD 

Of all the ground forces re-equipped 
under the North African program, only one, 
the 2d Armored Division, participated in 
the cross-Channel operation. Since its 

9 Figures on losses are taken from the Santini 
article cited note 7. For detailed account of Op- 
eration Brassard, see Rpts, Adm Troubridge to 
Adm Sir Andrew B. Cunningham, 24 Jun 44, and 
Gen de Lattre to Allied CinC, 2 Aug 44, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Brassard; also General 
[Jean] de Lattre de Tassigny, Histoire de la Premiere 
Armee Frangaise (Paris: Plon, 1949), pp. 16-30. 



transfer to the United Kingdom in April 
1 944, the division had completed its equip- 
ping and training. On 3 1 July, or approxi- 
mately two months after the launching of 
Overlord, the division, still under the com- 
mand of Maj. Gen. Jacques Leclerc, was 
landed in Normandy as part of Third U.S. 
Army, under Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. 
Immediately engaged in battle, the division 
subsequently took an active part in the pur- 
suit to the Seine. On 23 August Lt. Gen. 
Omar N. Bradley, commander of 12th 
Army Group, directed it to push to Paris. 
The division entered the French capital two 
days later along with the 4th U.S. Infantry 
Division. After the liberation of Paris, the 
2d DB continued its drive eastward still as 
a component of the Third Army. 12 

Also engaged in Overlord were the Brit- 
ish-equipped and British-controlled squad- 
rons of the French Air Force, a number of 
French naval vessels operating as part of 
the Allied naval pool, and two paratroop 
units. These were the 2d RCP (Regiment 
de Chasseurs Parachutistes ) and the 3d 
RCP. The two units, organized in early 
1941 in the United Kingdom and equipped 
by the British, actually were component bat- 
talions (the 4th and 3d) of the British Spe- 
cial Air Service (SAS) Brigade. They were 
parachuted in June and July respectively to 
assist the Resistance forces operating in con- 
junction with Overlord. 

ANVIL 

By early August all alerted French or- 
ganizations on the Anvil troop list, includ- 

10 For details on organization, r e-equippin g, and 
employment of French air units, see l Ch. Xll , below. 

11 For details on the refitti ng and em ployment of 
the French naval forces, see Ch. XHLl below. 

" See Forrest C. Pogue, The Supreme Command, 
UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR 
II (Washington, 1954), Ch. XIII. 



THE NORTH AFRICAN FORCES IN ACTION 



183 



ing those that had been withdrawn from the 
Italian front and those which had taken 
part in the capture of Elba, were re-group- 
ing in staging areas in southern Italy, Cor- 
sica, and North Africa. While waiting for 
their respective D Days they completed their 
initial equipment or, in the case of units 
which had already seen action, drew re- 
placement items from U.S. base sections in 
the same manner as the American units 
about to participate in Anvil. Meanwhile, 
organizations which remained to be 
equipped under the 23 January Plan and its 
subsequent revisions hastily procured equip- 
ment in the hope that they would be ready 
in time for effective participation in the 
forthcoming operation. 

One question was causing considerable 
concern to American officials in the theater. 
The French were short, not only of auxiliary 
troops to support their Anvil forces ade- 
quately, but also of the necessary replace- 
ment personnel to maintain them at strength 
in combat. General Devers estimated that 
they had replacements for only two months 
of fighting after landing in France. In a 
message dated 2 July he had urged General 
Marshall to impress on General de Gaulle, 
upon his arrival in Washington where he 
was expected shortly, the seriousness of the 
situation and the necessity for planning the 
recruitment of replacements in continental 
France after the launching of Anvil. 13 

The long-awaited assault on the French 
Mediterranean coast took place on 15 Au- 
gust. Directing the operation was Lt. Gen. 
Alexander M. Patch, Commanding Gen- 
eral, U.S. Seventh Army. Although in the 
initial stages the attack was led by three 
American divisions (VI Corps) experienced 
in amphibious landings, assisted by some 

"Msg 13244-, Devers to Marshall (Eyes Only), 
2 Jul 44, OPD Exec 10, Item 52-D. 



French Commandos and armored ele- 
ments, 14 the operation was largely backed up 
by French troops. These formed a task 
force known as Armee B, under the control 
of General de Lattre de Tassigny. Within a 
few days, six French divisions had landed 
and one by one joined VI Corps in battle. 
By 31 August, with Marseille and Toulon 
securely in French hands, the bulk of the 
French ground forces, then comprising ap- 
proximately two thirds of the combat 
strength of Seventh Army, had been com- 
mitted to battle. Progressively General de 
Lattre grouped his units into two Army 
corps — 1st Corps under the command of 
General Bethouart, and 2d Corps under the 
command of General de Monsabert. 15 In 
mid-September, when Armee B left the con- 
trol of the Seventh Army to become a tac- 
tically independent organization, it renamed 
itself Premiere Armee Frangaise (1st 
French Army). From this time on, 1st 
French Army and U.S. Seventh Army were 
to fight side by side as the two component 
elements of the U.S. 6th Army Group com- 
manded by General Devers. 

At the end of September, after a 450- 
mile dash northward from Provence 
through Lyon and Dijon, up to Belfort, 1st 
French Army had received most of the 
units on the Anvil French troop list. These 
were: five infantry divisions — 1st DMI, 2d 
DIM, 3d DIA, 4th DMM, and 9th DIC; 
three groups of Moroccan tabors — 1st 

" One combat command from the 1st Armored 
Division. 

'"' General Bethouart was Chief, General Staff 
of National Defense, until 7 August 1944; he be- 
came Commanding General, 1st Corps, on 6 Sep- 
tember 1944. General de Monsabert was Com- 
manding General, 3d Algerian Infantry Division, 
first in Italy, then in France until 2 September 
1944, when he was promoted to the rank of lieu- 
tenant general and assumed command of 2d 
Corps. 




FRENCH 2D ARMORED DIVISION passing through a small town near Paris, 
25 August 1944. 




MAJ. GEN. JACQUES LECLERC (left foreground), commanding general of the French 
2d Armored Division, is followed by liberated Frenchmen as he walks through the street of a 
small town on the way to Paris, 23 August 1944. 




REVIEWING FRENCH TROOPS IN LIBERATION CEREMONY, MAR- 
SEILLE. Tke French Minister of War, Mr. Andre Dielhelm, is followed by General Jean de 
Lattre de Tassigny (left) and Lt. Gen. Aime de Goisland de Monsaberl, 29 August 1944. 



186 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



GTM, 2d GTM, and 3d GTM; two ar- 
mored divisions — 1st DB (commanded by 
Maj. Gen. du Touzet du Vigier) and 5th 
DB (commanded by General de Verne- 
joul ) ; and general reserve elements, services, 
and base units. 

Within a short time, 1st French Army 
reached a strength of some 200,000 men 
representing nearly all the expeditionary 
forces equipped and maintained, or main- 
tained only, by the United States under the 
North African rearmament program. Yet 
this army, sizable as it was, could not oper- 
ate as an entirely independent force. Be- 
cause it still lacked sufficient service units, 
it was relying heavily on the U.S. Seventh 
Army for a considerable part of its support, 
thus creating a situation similar to that 
which had existed in Italy with respect to 
the former CEF. In addition, few replace- 
ments were reported to be available in 
North Africa to maintain the existing units 
at strength. Progress toward self-suffi- 
ciency could be envisaged, however, for 
during its advance through French terri- 
tory 1st French Army had absorbed consid- 
erable numbers of liberated Frenchmen, 
40,000 by 20 September, 20,000 more by 
15 October. Still larger numbers were 
waiting to be enrolled . Ultimately 1 3 7 ,000 
men were mustered in as replacements or 
as personnel for new units, thus boosting 
the strength of 1st French Army to a peak 
of 290,000 men. 10 

Meanwhile the larger part of the French 
air squadrons and a substantial number of 
French naval vessels had been committed to 

"' These additional effectives being of local re- 
cruitment, and consequently not part of the North 
African rearmament program, the question of their 
amalgam ation and equipping is treated in Chapter 
IXVIIlJ below, which deals with the rearmament 
of the French Metropolitan forces. For final 
composition of 1st French Army, see l p, 3531 below. 



action as part of the Allied air and naval 
pools operating in support of Anvil. 

Remaining in North Africa were a hand- 
ful of expeditionary forces soon to be 
shipped to France for use as replacements 
or as additional reserve elements of 1st 
French Army. All other forces in the area, 
that is, Territorial and Sovereignty troops, 
were continuing their normal activities, such 
as maintaining the expeditionary forces in 
operation or ensuring the defense and inter- 
nal security of North Africa and of Allied 
communications lines. 

Logistical Support of the French ANVIL 
Forces 

The same basic principles which had 
governed the supply and maintenance of the 
CEF in Italy were applied to the logistical 
support of the French forces operating in 
Anvil. The over-all maintenance and 
supply responsibility rested with the U.S. 
Army. The U.S. supply services obtained 
all maintenance items of American origin 
required for the participating French and 
U.S. forces by means of combined monthly 
requisitions, consolidated these supplies in 
U.S. stocks, and saw to their proper dis- 
tribution. The French themselves fur- 
nished items peculiar to their troops, such 
as wine, brandy, and oil, as well as post 
exchange and Special Services supplies. 
French service units and supply officers as- 
sisted in the entire operation. 

In early July 1944 a U.S. base section 
was organized to support the combined 
French-American forces from the time of 
their entry on the Continent. The base, 
known as Coastal Base Section ( COSBASE ) 
and commanded by Maj. Gen. Arthur R. 
Wilson, was to operate in Marseille as soon 
as practicable. On 27 July Headquarters, 



THE NORTH AFRICAN FORCES IN ACTION 



187 



SOS, NATOUSA, set forth in detail the 
policies to be followed by COSBASE with 
respect to the issue of and accounting for 
rations and replacement and maintenance 
supplies to the French. 17 

The French had not yet been able to acti- 
vate enough service units, especially truck 
companies, to operate a base section of their 
own to support their combat forces. In 
early July they had hastily begun setting 
up an organization to function side by side 
with COSBASE. They assigned to it the 
personnel formerly operating Base 901 in 
Naples, elements from other French bases, 
and officers recruited from training centers 
and elsewhere for the purpose. The base, 
bearing the old designation "901" and 
commanded by General Gross, was officially 
activated on 1 August. Not only was this 
action belated since the launching of Anvil 
was only two weeks away, but the organiza- 
tion of the base itself was, from the start, 
wholly inadequate. Its personnel was in- 
sufficient in number and poorly trained. 
Few of the officers knew English, a most 
serious deficiency considering that the base 
was to work in conjunction with a U.S. 
base. Material means were almost nonex- 
istent. Consequently, no planning could be 
done which would effectively guide the base 
in its future work. 

The situation was so serious that by com- 
mon agreement it was decided to attach 
Base 901 to COSBASE, thus making Gen- 
eral Wilson responsible for the logistical 
support of both the French and the U.S. 
forces. As a result, Base 901 became, in 
practice, a French section of COSBASE 
and a liaison agency between the latter and 
the French. 



,T Memo, Hq SOS NATOUSA for CG COSBASE, 
27 Jul 44, MTOUSA File, Sup of Fr (Mar-Nov 
44). 



Landing on 16 August along with the 
first French combat elements was a small 
advance party from Base 901. The party 
was so unprepared for the difficult task of 
handling vast quantities of personnel and 
men, and so hampered by lack of physical 
means, that it could do little valuable work. 
As a result, the combat elements were 
forced, during this critical period, to rely 
entirely on the U.S. Army for their support. 
It was not until 31 August that the first 
echelon of the base arrived in Marseille. 
By this time French combat elements had 
already reached Lyon, or a point some 200 
miles away. The second echelon arrived 
on 15 September just as 1st French Army 
was being formed. Two weeks later, when 
the third and fourth echelons finally reached 
Marseille, the lines of communications had 
stretched to such an extent that the base was 
snowed under with tasks entirely out of pro- 
portion to its still meager means — 1,200 
men and 200 vehicles. 

Its work was made even more difficult in 
early October as a result of the reorganiza- 
tion of the American supply lines. With 
the Anvil forces continuing their rapid push 
northward, the Americans decided to set up 
an advance base in the liberated town of 
Dijon, while maintaining the coastal base in 
Marseille. To conform with this reorgani- 
zation, Base 901, although still greatly un- 
derstaffed and poorly equipped, was split 
into two sections. On 1 2 October a detach- 
ment headed by the new base commander, 
Brig. Gen. Georges Granier, was sent to 
Dijon to work with Continental Advance 
Section ( CONAD ) commanded by General 
Wilson, while the remainder stayed with 
Delta Base Section commanded by Brig. 
Gen. John P. Ratay. A few days later, on 23 
October, General de Lattre announced that 
CONAD was taking over the direct re- 



188 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



sponsibility for the supply of 1st French 
Army, and authorized General Wilson to 
appoint French officers from Base 901 to 
the various staff sections and commands of 
CONAD. These provisions were to apply 
as long as 1st French Army was operating 
as part of U.S. 6th Army Group and on 
French soil. 18 

CONAD's responsibility was to supply 
both component armies of the 6th Army 
Group. Delta Base Section concerned it- 
self with the operation of the port of Mar- 
seille, the base depots, and the maintenance 
installations in that area. Both sections 
remained under the control of SOS, 
NATOUSA, until 20 November when a 
new headquarters, Southern Line of Com- 
munications (SOLOC), commanded by 
General Larkin, took over the entire Ameri- 
can supply system in southern France. 19 

The place of the French within the final 
American organization was as follows : Gen- 
eral Granier, as Commanding General, 
Base 901, was deputy to General Larkin. 
French officers were posted at the various 
U.S. command headquarters, SOLOC, 
CONAD, and Delta Base Section. At 
SOLOC and CONAD they were fully in- 
tegrated in the staffs of these commands, 
and therefore under the control of the re- 
spective U S. commanding officers. At 
Delta Base Section the French section was 
attached to the U.S. organization. For 
matters of discipline and administration, all 
French personnel were responsible to Gen- 
eral Granier. 

Base 901 played a dual role. It was 
charged with obtaining, largely from North 

18 GO, Hq 1st Fr Army, 23 Oct 44, in GO 27, Hq 
CONAD, 27 Oct 44, MTOUSA File, Fr Policy 
(Feb-Oct 44). 

10 Msg S-66620, Eisenhower to AGWAR, 13 Nov 
44, SHAEF Mission to France, 091.711-1 (Fr). 



Africa, and distributing supplies drawn 
from French stocks. In this task it worked 
independently of U.S. supply agencies and 
dealt solely with the French High Com- 
mand. With respect to supplies of Ameri- 
can origin, including rations, it assisted U.S. 
supply organizations in effecting distribu- 
tion to authorized units, that is, troop list 
units and their replacements. No U.S. 
Army responsibility existed for any other 
French personnel. 20 

The missions assigned to Base 901 were 
exacting enough considering the limited 
personnel available. Their execution, how- 
ever, was made even more difficult from 
the start as unexpected major problems 
suddenly arose, in particular, the absorption 
by 1st French Army of considerable num- 
bers of liberated Frenchmen. Even when 
this army grew in size, Base 901, whose ef- 
fectives, according to American estimates, 
should have amounted to 1 1 2,000 for a cor- 
responding eight-division army, never ex- 
ceeded some 29,000 men. As a result, 
much of the logistical support continued 
to be provided throughout the war by 
American supply lines. 21 

It had been agreed between AFHQ and 
the French High Command in Algiers that 
materiel ordered from the United States 
to complete the equipping of certain units 
whose presence was urgently needed in 
southern France would be shipped directly 
to Marseille. To ensure its proper distrib- 
ution, SCAMA opened an office in that port 
on 25 September, and established the nec- 
essary liaison between the units concerned 

30 Msg BX-18007, Devers to de Lattre, 17 Oct 
44, JRC Cable Log. 

■ ! For additional information on Base 901, see 
1st French Army Report, Maj. Gen. Henri Cou- 
draux, La Base a" Operations 901 dans la Bataille 
pour la Liberation de la France, 1944-1945 (Paris: 
Imprimerie Nationale, 1947). 



THE NORTH AFRICAN FORCES IN ACTION 



189 



and COSBASE. 22 In late October SCA- 
MA's remaining staff in North Africa was 
ordered to the Continent where it contin- 
ued to supervise the supply of the French 
forces. 

The North African Rearmament Program 
Ends 

While the righting was progressing in 
southern and then in eastern France, re- 
armament operations were continuing in 
North Africa. Their object was to com- 
plete the equipping and training of the re- 
maining troop list units. 

Reports reaching AFHQ immediately 
after the entry of the first French troops 
into action emphasized the need of dispatch- 
ing to the Continent all available French 
service and base units to ease the burden 
now thrown on the U.S. Army. Some, it 
was known, had not yet been activated; 
others were only partly manned and 
equipped. At a conference called on 21 
August, Brig. Gen. Clement Blanc, of the 
French General Staff, agreed that all re- 
quired truck battalions would be activated 
at once but with only half their personnel, 
the remainder to be raised later in southern 
France. With respect to the other units, 
he insisted that they could not be made 
ready before the beginning of December 
for lack of troops. 23 

A week later representatives from SOS, 
Mediterranean Base Section, the JRC, and 
SCAMA met to examine the equipment 
and training status of the units currently 
alerted for movement to the Continent. 



22 Msg LX-43235, Larkin To All Concerned, 21 
Sep 44, JRC Cable Log; Memo, SCAMA Hq, 29 
Sep 44, MTOUSA File, Fr Policy (Feb-Oct 44). 

"''Memos, Knox for Loomis, 21 Aug 44, and 
Lever To All Concerned, 24 Aug 44, JRC 370/003 
Employment of Sv Units. 



They agreed that, on the whole, the units 
concerned had made substantial progress. 
However, they were deeply concerned over 
the fact that some units, mostly ordnance 
maintenance organizations and quarter- 
master truck battalions designated for the 
operation of Base 901, were so deficient in 
equipment, personnel, and training that 
they could not possibly be made ready in 
time to meet the commitment dates as then 
set up." 

It was not likely that deficiencies in per- 
sonnel could be remedied in time, if at all, 
for already there were reports that the 
caliber of students, both white and native, 
then attending the French Ordnance 
Training School at Meknes (Morocco), 
was far below that of the previous classes 
as far as mechanical aptitude and expe- 
rience were concerned. 25 Obviously, the 
recruiting of technical personnel in North 
Africa had reached the limit. No improve- 
ment could be expected until the liberation 
of part of France produced additional 
manpower. 

Shortages of equipment were another 
cause for grave concern both at Allied and 
French headquarters. The most acute 
shortage appeared to be that of general- 
purpose vehicle {%-, and 2/ 2 -ton 
trucks especially), although all necessary 
vehicles were known to have been assigned 
in Washington. The shortage was ascribed 
to unauthorized diversions to nonprogram 
units and incomplete shipments from the 
United States. Already SOS had been 
compelled to draw upon U.S. theater 
stocks, even to the extent of threatening the 
maintenance of American units. By 8 Sep- 

" Rpt on ConL SOS, 8 Sep 44, JRC 400.1/009 
Sup of Forces Designated for Combat. 

E Memo, Kingman for Loomis, 10 Sep 44, JRC 
353/003 Training Fr Army Personnel. 



190 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



tember the shortage was estimated at ap- 
proximately 1,100 vehicles. Since these 
could not be provided from U.S. stocks, 
General Larkin recommended that 
NATOUSA redouble its efforts to get the 
French to withdraw all vehicles from units 
not entitled to hold U.S. equipment. This 
recommendation was followed a few days 
later by a warning to the French that SOS 
would stop issuing vehicles to them as long 
as any remained in the hands of unauthor- 
ized units. 28 

The warning was accompanied by a re- 
quest from General Loomis that he be in- 
formed by 1 October of the number of 
vehicles being withdrawn from nonprogram 
units for re-issue to alerted units. A month 
later, still without an answer, General 
Loomis again broached the question. He 
pointed out to General Leyer that, accord- 
ing to a recent study of assignments and 
shipments from the United States, French 
stocks should have, not a shortage, rather 
a surplus, of some 900 vehicles. It was dif- 
ficult, he observed, to reconcile this fact 
with the considerable shortage currently re- 
ported. General Leyer replied that figures 
available to him indicated a "theoretical 
deficit" of some 560 trucks. However, he 
was able to report that approximately the 
same number of vehicles had been returned 
and would be transferred to troop list units ; 
more would soon be returned. He al- 
lowed only schools and training centers 
to retain their vehicles. 27 

Meanwhile, other shortages, such as var- 

M Ltr, Loomis to Leyer, 19 Sep 44, and Memo, 
Loomis for Leyer, 3 Sep 44, JRC 451/001 Ve- 
hicles — Misc ; Msg LX-41201, Larkin to 
NATOUSA, 8 Sep 44, JRC 903 Requests for 
Units; Msg LX-41818, SOS to JRC, 13 Sep 44, 
JRC Cable Log. 

"' T Ltrs, Loomis to Leyer, 19 Sep 44 and 17 Oct 
44, and Leyer to Loomis, 30 Oct 44, JRC 451/ 
001 Vehicles— Misc. 



ious ordnance items, including individual 
weapons, and signal supplies, were being 
filled as a result of action by SOS. On 19 
September General Larkin explained to the 
War Department that all possible steps had 
been taken to complete the equipping of 
French units from French and U.S. stocks 
available in North Africa. It was urgent, 
he concluded, that existing shortages be 
filled by shipments from the United States 
in order that the units concerned be made 
fit for operations. 28 Simultaneously, to 
make sure that the French were complying 
with earlier repeated warnings, SOS, 
NATOUSA, on 2 1 September, made an im- 
portant announcement: thereafter, the U.S. 
Army would issue no major item of equip- 
ment as long as any similar or suitable sub- 
stitute remained in the hands of French 
organizations not on the troop list or not 
authorized U.S. equipment by the theater 
commander. Future requests were to be 
accompanied by a certificate stating that the 
equipment could not be supplied from any 
French source. 29 

Efforts to repossess from the French all 
items in their hands considered "excess" 
continued unabated. The matter had be- 
come more urgent now that emergency is- 
sues of equipment to alerted French units 
had considerably depleted some American 
theater stocks. It was expected that as 
shipments from the United States reached 
the French, surpluses in their stocks would 
approximately equal the amounts of emer- 
gency items turned over to them initially. 
It was essential for SOS to repossess such 
items as well as items in the hands of units 
once in the program but no longer on the 

"Msg LX-42836, Larkin to CG Pembark, 19 
Sep 44, JRC Cable Log. 

'* Msg LX-43288, SOS to MBS, 2 1 Sep 44, JRC 
909 Surplus Equip. 



THE NORTH AFRICAN FORCES IN ACTION 



191 



troop list. On 5 September General 
Loomis requested General Leyer to submit 
to SOS at frequent intervals an inventory 
of all initial items of equipment on hand in 
French depots. He pointed out that the 
items of U.S. origin currently in training 
centers had been issued on a loan basis to 
complete the training of replacements ; they 
were subject to recall by SOS when and 
if required. 30 

Attempts to repossess the equipment in 
the hands of a combat unit that had fought 
brilliantly in Italy, but had subsequently 
been withdrawn from the Anvil troop list 
by the French High Command, precipitated 
a minor crisis in early September. The unit 
was the 4th Moroccan Tabor Group. Un- 
like the other three tabor groups then fight- 
ing in France, the 4th GTM had been re- 
turned to French Morocco, there to be 
given some much needed rest. Since it re- 
verted to the status of a Sovereignty unit, it 
was no longer authorized to retain its Amer- 
ican equipment. Repossession in this case 
posed a delicate problem. Should a vic- 
torious unit returning to its native country 
be stripped of its materiel? American offi- 
cials finally agreed that, for morale reasons, 
the regiment would retain its individual 
equipment including arms. The rest was 
ordered returned to U.S. depots. 31 The 
crisis soon came to a head when it became 
known that the French military authorities 
had turned over a substantial part of the 
organizational equipment such as vehicles, 
weapons, and radio sets to a Commando 

30 Memo, Loomis for Leyer, 5 Sep 44, JRC 
320/001 Incl: Corres File B. 

31 Msgs LX-39978, Larkin to CG NATOUSA, 1 
Sep 44, JRC/ 176, CG NATOUSA to AFHQ, 3 
Sep 44, and FX-91969, CG NATOUSA to Larkin, 
4 Sep 44, JRC 370/001 Employment of Units- 
Gen; Msg FX15252, CG NATOUSA to JRC, 14 
Sep 44, JRC 400.1/009 Sup of Forces Designated 
for Combat. 



unit not on the troop list. 32 General Sir 
Henry Maitland Wilson expressed to Gen- 
eral Juin, then Chief of Staff of National 
Defense, his dissatisfaction over the French 
action which, by diverting without authori- 
zation equipment to a nonprogram unit, 
had violated the directives of the CCS. 33 

As repossession frequently tended to inter- 
fere with the work of equipping the remain- 
ing program units, the JRC decided to try 
a fresh approach to the problem. General 
Loomis, on 8 September, recommended a 
suspension of the repossession operations 
until such a time as the French had received 
all equipment due them from the United 
States. Meanwhile, only critical items 
would be repossessed as required. 34 That 
was the procedure adopted and followed for 
some weeks, during which time the JRC 
prepared a study on excess stocks in antici- 
pation of the eventual resumption of the 
recapture operations. 

In early October a new situation arose 
in the theater as a result of operational 
developments on the Continent. With 
Paris liberated, on 26 August, the French 
armed services had already begun to move 
from North Africa to the French capital on 
the heels of General de Gaulle's Provisional 
Government (Gouvernement Provisoire de 
la Republique Franchise), the successor to 
CFLN since 3 June. Before leaving, Gen- 
eral Leyer had submitted plans for the 
mobilization and equipping of manpower 
then becoming available as a result of the 

33 The Staouelli Commandos, organized at 
Staouelli, a small town near Algiers; later known 
as Commandos de France during the campaign of 
France and Germany. 

"Lir, Gammell to Juin, 9 Sep 44, JRC 370/001 
Employment of Units — Gen; Memo, Loomis for 
CofS SHAEF, 13 Oct 44, SHAEF Mission to 
France, 091.711-1 (Fr). 

" Msg JRC/ 199, JRC to CG NATOUSA, 8 Sep 
44, JRC Cable Log. 



192 



REARMING THE FRENCH 




VICTORY PARADE THROUGH THE STREETS OF PARIS, 26 August 1944. 
Leading the parade is General de Gaulle, left, and General Pierre Koenig, right; center, rear, 
is General Leclerc. 



advance of the Allied armies. These and 
other developments, including the antici- 
pated closing down of U.S. installations in 
North Africa, prompted AFHQ to question 
whether it was qualified to act as agent in 
dealing with French authorities on military 
matters not directly affecting the theater. 
General Wilson proposed, on 8 October, 
that thereafter such matters be dealt with by 
Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expedition- 
ary Force, in Paris. Already an advance 
detachment from the JRC, headed by Gen- 
eral Loomis, had reached the French capital 



on 3 October, and was organizing al 
SHAEF an agency to handle French arma- 
ment problems arising within the European 
Theater of Operations. Pending a decision 
on the proposed transfer to SHAEF of the 
over-all responsibility for future rearma- 
ment, the rear echelon of the JRC kept 
functioning in North Africa. It supervised 
the movement of French Training Section 
to F ranee where its presence was urgently 
required, and screened the general supply 
program requisitions submitted by the 
French for their Sovereignty and Territorial 



THE NORTH AFRICAN FORCES IN ACTION 



193 



forces. In these various tasks JRC Rear 
was assisted by SCAMA and by Mediter- 
ranean Base Section ( MBS ) , the Oran port 
organization serving Delta Base Section in 
Marseille. 35 

By the end of October the study which 
the JRC had conducted of excess materiel 
in French hands had been completed and 
its findings embodied in a memorandum 
prepared for the benefit of MBS by Colonel 
Crump, acting chairman of the committee 
since General Loomis' departure. Colonel 
Crump listed the four sources known to 
possess such materiel: SCAMA stocks, 
training centers and schools, program units 
not on current troop lists, and nonprogram 
units. He pointed out that a portion of the 
excess items should be repossessed for use 
in France with the remainder reverting 
to MBS stocks. 36 Pursuant to Colonel 
Crump's recommendation, SCAMA pro- 
ceeded to prepare and submit inventories 
of items excess in French stocks. These were 
carefully screened by appropriate theater 
supply services to determine what items 
were to be recaptured from the French. Ex- 
cept where large excesses already existed in 
U.S. theater stocks, most of the items re- 
ported by French inventories were finally 
repossessed by MBS and placed in U.S. de- 
pots, and due credit was given the French 
on theater lend-lease reports. 37 

Throughout the month of November the 
question of the responsibility for French 

15 Msg FX-35102, Wilson to AG WAR, 8 Oct 
44, AFHQ Cable Log; Ltr, Leyer to Loomis, 16 
Aug 44, Msgs MF-12547, Lewis to JRC, 5 Oct 44, 
and JRC/295, Larkin to Loomis, 24 Oct 44, JRC 
320/001 Orgn of JRC. 

"Memo, Crump for MBS, drafted 20 Oct 44, 
sent 8 Nov 44, in same file. 

37 Logistical History of NATOUSA — MTOUSA : 
11 August 1942 to 30 November 1945, ed. Col. 
Creswell G. Blakeney (Naples, Italy; G. Montanino, 
1946), p. 372. 



armament matters continued to be a lively 
issue. SHAEF was handling entirely new 
problems arising from the liberation of 
French manpower in vast numbers and, 
through ETOUSA, had assumed the sup- 
port of the French expeditionary forces 
operating in France. Meanwhile the Amer- 
ican command in the Mediterranean, 
MTOUSA, was supplying the forces, 
largely Sovereignty and Territorial, oper- 
ating in that theater. In view of the 
presence in Paris of the heads of French 
services, and of the approaching closing 
down of all U.S. military installations in 
North Africa, MTOUSA recommended to 
the War Department that SHAEF be asked 
to assume the responsibility for the con- 
tinued support of Territorial and Sovereign- 
ty forces in addition to its present commit- 
ments. The War Department endorsed the 
proposal, which fitted with its desire to see 
a single agency dealing with all French re- 
armament problems, particularly since the 
general supply situation had become critical 
as a result of heavy demands from U.S. 
troops. SHAEF finally agreed, on 3 
December, and from that date on assumed 
all supply responsibility for the French forces 
including Sovereignty and Territorial 
troops, as well as replacements for the ex- 
peditionary forces. 38 

By this time most armament activities in 
North Africa had ceased. On 8 November, 
JRC Rear had been officially disbanded. 39 
So had the remaining echelon of French 
Training Section whose presence in the 
theater had become superfluous as a result 

38 Msgs FX-52426, MTOUSA to SHAEF, 14 
Nov 44, WX-63198, AGWAR to SHAEF, 15 Nov 
44, FX-60290, MTOUSA to SHAEF, 29 Nov 44, 
and S-69284, SHAEF to MTOUSA, 3 Dec 44, 
SHAEF Rearmt Div File 900-1. 

39 Memo, Crump for CofS, Fr Ground Forces, 
8 Nov 44, JRC 320/001 Orgn of JRC. 



194 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



of the transfer to southern France of the 
division and army training centers operat- 
ing as part of the Anvil troop list. Such 
officers and enlisted men of JRC Rear and 
French Training Section as were needed 
to reinforce General Loomis' new section 
at SHAEF had been dispatched to the Con- 
tinent. SCAMA's rear echelon was on its 
way to France. 

With all equipment problems henceforth 
the responsibility of SHAEF, the North 
African rearmament program could be re- 
garded as having come to an end. 

All together the contribution to the war 
effort of French North and West Africa 
and other French territories then aligned 
on the side of the Allies had been substan- 
tial both in quantity and in quality. Total 
effectives under arms, as of 1 September 
1944, had reached the impressive figure 
of 560,000 men. Of this number, North 
and West Africa had furnished approxi- 
mately 295,000 natives and 215,000 
Frenchmen (of whom some 20,000 had 
escaped from France ) , or a total of 5 1 0,000. 

The effort had been greatest in North 
Africa (Tunisia, Algeria, and French Mo- 
rocco) where 16.4 percent of the French 
population had been mobilized (20.5 per- 
cent in French Morocco). Natives under 
arms represented 1.58 percent of the Mos- 
lem population, a figure kept necessarily 
low for lack of sufficient white cadres. Yet, 
in French Morocco, where natives were 
not subject to compulsory service and there- 
fore could enter military service only as 
volunteers, it had been possible to raise two 
infantry divisions (2d DIM and 4th 
DMM), four tabor groups, and various 
cavalry, artillery, and service units. 

The operational distribution of effec- 
tives, again as of 1 September, was reported 



to be as follows : in the expeditionary forces, 
260,000 men of whom approximately one 
half were whites; in the Territorial and 
Sovereignty forces, 250,000; in the Colo- 
nial forces — that is to say, the forces, largely 
native trooops, maintaining the security of 
the numerous French colonies throughout 
the world— 50,000. 40 

Equally impressive had been, as already 
related, the contribution of these forces on 
the field of battle, a contribution which 
could only increase as the critical opera- 
tional situation in the last months of 1944 
became more demanding. When, on 1 
November, all French forces passed from 
the control of AFHQ to that of SHAEF, 
General Wilson, under whose supreme com- 
mand they had been for approximately ten 
months, seized the opportunity to express to 
General Juin his admiration for the "heroic 
performance" of those French troops who 
had shared in the campaigns of Italy and 
southern France. "Their courage in com- 
bat, their devotion to duty, their excellent 
leadership, their sacrifices and successes in 
battle have brought us to an overwhelming 
common victory and given mute testimony 
to the rebirth of French arms." 41 In a 
similar message to General de Gaulle, also 
dated 1 November, General Wilson con- 
cluded: "Thus it is with certainty that I 
look forward to new and glorious victories 
of French arms, in the final crushing of the 
common enemy. The gallant traditions of 
French arms live on in safe hands." 42 



10 Memo with statistics, Poydenot To All Con- 
cerned, 21 Sep 44, SHAEF Misc Fr 320-2NA, 
Orgn Fr Army: Colonel Spillman, "L'Armee 
d'Afrique," Revue Historique de I'Armee (Decem- 
ber, 1948), p. 40- 41. 

" Ltr, Wilson to Juin, 1 Nov 44-, SHAEF SGS 
092 France, Vol. III. 

Ltr, Wilson to de Gaulle, 1 Nov 44, in same file. 



CHAPTER XII 



Rearming the French Air Force 



Shortly after the November 1942 land- 
ings in North Africa, the French air units 
then aligned with the Allies began a long 
period of reorganization and re-equipping. 1 
At the time, they fell into two groups: the 
Free French Air Forces of General de 
Gaulle, the first elements of which had been 
organized and engaged in operations as 
early as August 1940, and the French North 
African Air Forces then under General 
Giraud's authority. Both groups of forces 
continued to operate separately until the 
summer of 1943, when, with the fusion of 
the de Gaulle and Giraud forces, all French 
squadrons became an integral part of a 
single air force. 

The five squadrons of the Free French 
Air Forces, commanded by Lt. Gen. Mar- 
tial Valin, had been equipped, maintained, 
and controlled by the Royal Air Force 
( RAF ) . Two were operating from bases 
in the United Kingdom, one in the Middle 
East, and one in Africa in conjunction with 
the Leclerc Column. In October, just be- 
fore the landings in North Africa, the fifth 
unit, the Normandie Fighter Squadron, had 
left for the USSR to be re-equipped with 
Soviet materiel and engaged under Soviet 

1 Except as otherwise noted, the sources for this 
chapter are: JRG 360/001 Air Force Rearmt Plan 
and Policy; JRC 360/005 Status and Employment 
of Units; Hq MAAF, The French Air Force in 
MAAF, A Preliminary History, 1945, copy in AAF 
Hist Office Archives; Les Forces Aeriennes Fran- 
coises de 1939 a 1945, Col. Pierre Paquier, ed. 
(Paris: Berger-Levrault, 1949). 



operational control. 2 In January 1943 two 
additional fighter squadrons, coming from 
North Africa, would join the two units al- 
ready in the United Kingdom. 

The North African Air Forces, com- 
manded initially by General Jean Mendigal, 
included some 20 fighter, bomber, recon- 
naissance, and transport squadrons scat- 
tered throughout Tunisia, Algeria, and 
French Morocco, and 10 more stationed in 
French West Africa. Total strength of 
these units amounted to approximately 
12,000-15,000 men, including some 1,500 
fully trained pilots and corresponding crews, 
all of them with wide experience. Most of 
the pilots had seen action in the 1939-40 
campaign of France and had served since 
then in North and West Africa. Their 
equipment, largely of French origin with 
some American planes purchased in 1939, 
was highly inadequate both in quantity and 
in efficiency. Of the 700-odd aircraft avail- 
able on 8 November 1942, a large propor- 
tion, approximately two thirds, had been 
destroyed in action or damaged by sabotage 
in the course of the brief resistance to the 



- On reaching the USSR in December 1942, the 
squadron was equipped with the YAK— 1, later 

(July 1943) with the YAK-9, a third time (sum- 
mer 1944) with the YAK-3, all fighter aircraft 
of the Red Air Force. The unit, reorganized in 
early 1944 as a regiment (known after October 

1944 as the Normandie-Niemen Regiment) on the 
model of similar Soviet units, participated in op- 
erations around Smolensk, Vitebsk, in eastern 
Prussia, and finally over Germany. 



196 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



assaulting American forces, leaving from 
225 to 250 planes — some fit for combat, 
others in various degrees of air worthiness. 
Most were Dewoitine-520's from which the 
guns had been removed for use elsewhere. 
The rest included some Bloch, Liore, and 
Potez aircraft and a few American Glenn 
Martins. The immediate problem now 
facing General Giraud was to find sufficient 
equipment to rehabilitate his air units. 

Eager to assist the French Commander 
in Chief was the Joint Rearmament Com- 
mittee, whose responsibility at the time ex- 
tended to French air matters. The chair- 
man, Colonel Gardiner, himself a U.S. Air 
Forces pilot, represented AFHQ, U.S. Army 
Air Forces ( USAAF ) , as well as G-3 on the 
committee. Representing French head- 
quarters was Capt. Fernand Rebillon. 
Little effective assistance, however, could be 
rendered by the JRC, at least until an over- 
all air rearmament program could be estab- 
lished. For the moment the committee 
acted as a clearinghouse for French requests 
and as a liaison agency between French and 
Allied air force commands and establish- 
ments. 

During the months of December 1942 
and January 1943, most pilots of the North 
African Air Forces remained idle for lack 
of flying equipment, and their morale began 
to sag. 3 Four squadrons were hastily en- 
gaged in the battle of Tunisia under various 
Allied commands. Three were flying their 
old French equipment. Two of these would 
be moved to the United Kingdom at the 
end of the campaign to be re-equipped with 
British Halifaxes. The fourth unit, known 
as the Lafayette Squadron, was flying its 
newly acquired American P-40 Warhawks; 

3 Memo, Maj Paul Chemidlin for Asst Secy of 
War for Air, 14 Jan 43, ABC 091.711 France (6 
Oct 43), Sec I A. 



it owed the honor of being the first North 
African squadron to be re-equipped to the 
memory of the American pilots who, in 
1914-18, had distinguished themselves in 
the celebrated Lafayette Escadrille. Its re- 
equipping, effected independently of the 
JRC, had been arranged by the Allied Air 
Commander in Chief in Northwest Africa, 
Maj. Gen. Carl Spaatz. 

Meanwhile, in Algeria and French 
Morocco, other pilots and crews were being 
trained in U.S. squadrons. In addition, 
plans were under consideration for sending 
to the United States a number of selected 
student pilots for a complete course of in- 
struction, as well as sending transport and 
bomber crews for a refresher course. 4 Con- 
versely, local USAAF commanders were 
taking advantage of the presence of expe- 
rienced French pilots by having them de- 
tailed to help train younger American pilots 
in actual fighting. 

Obviously, what the North African air 
units needed, and quickly, was sufficient 
modern equipment. It will be recalled that 
the An fa Plan of January 1943 envisaged 
delivery from the United States of 500 
fighters, 300 bombers, and 200 transport 
planes. It was on this basis that General 
Bethouart, then chief of the French Mili- 
tary Mission in the United States, submitted 
the first air rearmament program. s After 
a detailed study of the Bethouart proposal, 
General Henry H. Arnold, Chief of the 
U.S. Army Air Forces, recommended that 
the CCS determine without delay the ex- 
tent, composition, utilization, training, and 
equipment of the North African Air Forces. 
His report outlined the advantages, politi- 

1 Msg 5142, Eisenhower to Arnold, 11 Jan 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 

= Memo, Bethouart for Marshall, 3 Feb 43, JRC 
902/11 Rearmt Plan. 



REARMING THE FRENCH AIR FORCE 



197 




P-40 WARHAWKS FOR THE LAFAYETTE ESCADRILLE, January 1943. 
Note the squadron's emblem, the head of a Sioux Indian. 



cal, psychological, and military, which the 
re-equipping of these forces would offer. It 
also listed the disadvantages, such as the 
diversion of aircraft at the expense of U.S. 
and British air units, and the likely strain 
on the command system due, in part, to 
language difficulties. The report was then 
submitted to the Combined Staff Planners 
for study and recommendation to the CCS. 6 
Only when the latter had reached a deci- 
sion could the Munitions Assignments Com- 
mittee (Air) assign any equipment. 

On 14 and again on 27 February 1943, 
General Eisenhower advised the War De- 
partment that the situation of the North 

"Msg 2143, Marshall to Eisenhower, 11 Feb 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 



African Air Forces was becoming critical. 
He urged that equipment for at least one 
light bomber group and one fighter group 
be shipped without delay, as recommended 
by General Spaatz and agreed to by Gen- 
eral Arnold in the course of his recent visit 
to the theater. 7 In answer to these appeals, 
the War Department informed Eisenhower 
and Spaatz of the steps presently contem- 
plated for furnishing immediate assistance 
to the French. The training of their pilots 
in the United States could be arranged to 
start in June, and an initial shipment of 90 
P-39 fighters, 67 A-35 dive bombers, and 



7 Msgs 776, Eisenhower to Marshall, 14 Feb 43, 
and 3271, to Marshall and Arnold, 27 Feb 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 



198 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



60 C-78 transport planes would be made 
beginning late March or early April. 8 Al- 
location of these aircraft, it must be noted, 
was being made at the sole initiative of 
American officials. It represented unilat- 
eral action on their part, since the CCS had 
reached no decision. They felt quite justi- 
fied in taking such action, pending CCS 
approval, as the request had come from 
General Eisenhower, himself the official 
representative of the Combined Chiefs in 
the theater. 

The responsibility for supplying the neces- 
sary aircraft and air force items of equip- 
ment rested with the U.S. Army Air Forces. 
International Division, Army Service 
Forces, on the other hand, was to handle all 
items common to air and ground forces. 
The procedure for the assignment, ship- 
ment, and accounting of all items was 
similar to that used in connection with 
the French ground force program. 

In late February Colonel Gardiner under- 
took a tour of inspection of North African 
air units. Favorably impressed by their 
resourcefulness, he reported, on his return 
to Algiers, that they were doing the best 
they could with the equipment at their 
disposal. He pointed out that their 
Dewoitines, which had proved to be good 
fighter planes in 1939, were still serviceable 
but were wearing out fast and needed parts 
urgently. To assist the French in making 
maximum use of their equipment, Colonel 
Gardiner made arrangements with one air 
service command to issue some spare parts 
to them. 9 

The month of March 1943 marked the 



" Msg 2985, Marshall and Arnold to Eisenhower 
and Spaatz, 27 Feb 43, JRC Cable Log. 

" Memos, Gardiner for CofS AFHQ, 4 Mar 43, 
and 5 Mar 43, JRC Misc Doc, "Annexes to 
History." 



beginning of the gradual integration of the 
French air forces of North Africa into the 
Allied air organization then established in 
that area, known as Northwest African Air 
Forces (NAAF) and commanded by Lt. 
Gen. Carl Spaatz. It marked also the be- 
ginning of real assistance on the part of 
NAAF and its component units toward the 
rehabilitation of the French squadrons. On 
13 March, at the request of General Mendi- 
gal, authorization was granted by General 
Spaatz for a first increment of three French 
squadrons to be placed under the opera- 
tional control of Northwest African Tactical 
Air Force (NATAF) . A week later, Gen- 
eral Spaatz announced that French air units 
assigned to NAAF were to be supplied by 
Northwest African Air Service Command 
(NAASC) in the same manner as any 
American unit, and that another compo- 
nent of NAAF, the XII Air Force Train- 
ing and Replacement Command, was to 
assume the responsibility for the training 
of French combat crews. Thus were estab- 
lished the basic policies which were to 
govern thereafter the relationship between 
the Allied and the French air forces in 
northwest Africa. In a further effort to 
achieve close co-operation on matters of 
supply and service requirements, a first in- 
crement of two French junior officers was 
assigned in April to XII Air Force Service 
Command (AFSC) as a technical detach- 
ment. 

In spite of these and other measures 
taken by the theater, the rehabilitation of 
the French squadrons was proceeding at an 
extremely slow pace. Allied deliveries of air 
equipment were still very small. By the end 
of March only thirty P-39's had been 
shipped from the United States, enough to 
equip one squadron, while the British had, 



REARMING THE FRENCH AIR FORCE 



199 




UNLOADING P-38 FIGHTER PLANES for the French, Casablanca, 13 April 1943. 



from local resources, furnished Spitfires for 
another. 10 

No real progress could be expected until 
a high-level decision had been reached on 
the extent and rate of expansion of the air 
program. Such a decision was not in sight. 
At the time, it will be recalled, Anglo-Amer- 
ican policy makers were in sharp disagree- 
ment over the scope of French rearmament, 
the British expressing the fear that the com- 
mitment would jeopardize the interests of 
both the U.S. and British forces. In their 
report (CCS 142/1 ) dated 10 March 1943, 
the Combined Staff Planners merely recom- 
mended that materiel assigned at General 
Eisenhower's request should not exceed that 
necessary to equip an air force of 450 planes. 



At their meeting of 12 March, the CCS, de- 
ciding against action for the moment, simply 
took note of the deliveries then being made 
with Eisenhower's concurrence. 11 

By the end of April the French had re- 
ceived approximately 100 planes from the 
United States. In addition the Lafayette 
Squadron was undergoing a second re- 
equipment, this time with P-47 Thunder- 
bolts. On the basis of the fine performance 
of that unit in the course of the preceding 
five months, AFHQ officials estimated that 
combat efficiency of future French air 
squadrons would approximate that of Allied 
units, particularly in piloting ability. For 
this reason they agreed that new combat 



'"Msg 4939, Marshall to Eisenhower, 24 Mar 43, 
OPD Gable Files. 



11 Rpt, CPS to CCS, 142/1, 10 Mar 43. Min and 
Su pplemen tary Min, CCS 75th Mtg, 12 Mar 43. 
Seel p. 541 above. 



200 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



squadrons should receive only the best 
materiel, and that old equipment should be 
used exclusively for training and for trans- 
port and liaison duties. 12 

A directive issued on 9 May by Maj. Gen. 
Delmar Dunton, Commanding General, 
Northwest African Air Service Command, 
set forth in detail NAASC's responsibility 
with respect to the supply and maintenance 
of French air units. Such combat units as 
were assigned to NAAF, or attached to the 
latter for operational control, were, as di- 
rected earlier by General Spaatz, to be sup- 
plied as were other NAAF units. Squadrons 
not yet assigned or attached were to ob- 
tain supplies by means of requisitions sub- 
mitted by Headquarters, French Air Service 
Command, to the JRC. 13 

The 9 May directive, although explicit as 
far as NAASC was concerned, was insuffi- 
cient to deal adequately with the entire 
problem of French supply and maintenance 
— a problem seriously complicated by the 
fact that some units had British and some 
U.S. equipment. In addition, the issue of 
air items, and of items common to ground 
and air forces, was to be effected according 
to widely different procedures. It soon be- 
came apparent that proper co-ordination 
between the various supply agencies had not 
been established. As late as 7 July base 
sections had not received orders to honor 
requisitions submitted by French air units. 
To clarify the matter, MAC (Air) set forth, 
on 22 July, the policy to be put into effect 
at once. Briefly, the new directive stipu- 
lated that squadrons not equipped with 
British or American aircraft were ineligible 
to receive supplies of British or U.S. origin 

12 Memo, Chief Air Unit IG for OPD, 22 Apr 43, 
OPD 336.2 France, Sec 1. 

13 Memos, Spaatz for CG NAASC, 5 May 43, and 
65-62, Hq NAASC, 9 May 43, JRC 360/001 Air 
Force Rearmt Plan and Policy. 



unless special authorization was granted by 
MAC (Air). All other squadrons were to 
conform to British or U.S. tables of equip- 
ment. Such items, other than aircraft and 
special air force equipment, as were issued 
to them by NAASC from USAAF or RAF 
local sources were to be replaced from ship- 
ments from the United States effected under 
the 25,000-ton monthly allocation to the 
French. 14 

Meanwhile French military authorities 
had continued to press for an expansion of 
their air forces. In May General Leyer re- 
quested an additional assignment of 300 
planes of various types. 13 His proposal, 
similar to the one submitted on 1 9 April by 
General Mendigal to General Spaatz, was 
held up pending a complete restudy, by the 
French themselves, of the entire French air 
position. A reorganization of their air and 
naval forces was then taking place. 16 

By mid-June the French had received 
from the United States 126 planes — includ- 
ing 90 P-39's, or enough for four fighter 
squadrons, 21 A-35's originally intended to 
form a dive-bomber squadron but Jater 
diverted for training and use in police and 
security squadrons, and 15 C-78's subse- 
quently used for training and communica- 
tions — as well as most of the necessary 
ground equipment requested in February. 17 

14 Quoted in History of FAF in MAAF, p. 5. 

"Memos, Leyer for CofS AFHQ, 12 May 43, 
and SGS for DCofS, 17 May 43, JRC 360/001 Air 
Force Rearmt Plan and Policy; Ltr, Leyer to JRC, 
20 May 43, JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab L. 

18 Memo, Deputy Air CinC for DCofS Mediter- 
ranean Air Comd, 10 Jun 43, JRC 360/001 Air 
Force Rearmt Plan and Policy. 

17 The A-35 was so constructed that it required 
a major overhaul after fifteen to thirty hours of 
flight. This proved too great a burden on the 
meager mechanical resources then available to the 
French. As a result, deliveries of this type of 
plane were discontinued. Statement in Corres from 
Col Gardiner, OCMH. 



REARMING THE FRENCH AIR FORCE 



201 



In addition, General Spaatz had given 
them, from available theater stocks, some 
50 P-40's. All deliveries from the United 
States had been based upon the recom- 
mendations of the theater commander. 
The MAB had assigned to date a total of 
217 planes of which 1 00 still remained to be 
shipped. No further assignments would 
be made without a new request from the 
theater. 

With the fusion of the Free French and 
North African armed forces in July 1943 
and the resulting reorganization of the 
French High Command, General Bouscat 
was appointed Chief of Staff of the Com- 
bined Armee de l'Air (French Air Force — 
FAF ) . In a memorandum to Air Chief 
Marshal Tedder, who, as Commanding 
General, Mediterranean Air Command, 
controlled all Allied air forces in the 
Mediterranean^ General Bouscat outlined 
the steps he was taking to bring the organiza- 
tion of the FAF in line with that of the 
Allied air force in the theater, and to 
effect the closest co-operation possible be- 
tween the two. He then reviewed FAF's 
position and capabilities and urged that the 
JRC be instructed to undertake without 
delay a detailed study of the air rearma- 
ment problem. His staff, he pointed out, 
was preparing a new program which would 
supersede all previous ones. 18 

Meanwhile the British had made avail- 
able enough additional Spitfires to equip 2 
more squadrons. Allocation of these air- 
craft had been made entirely on local 
initiative, as the United Kingdom made 
bulk allotments to the British air officer 
commander in chief for redistribution. 
Only those French squadrons which were 
stationed in West Africa or in the United 



"Memo, Bouscat for Tedder, 13 Jul 43, JRC 
360/001 Air Force Rearmt Plan and Policy. 



Kingdom were included in the War Office 
program. 

By August, excluding the squadrons oper- 
ating with the Royal Air Force in the United 
Kingdom, no more than 8 French squad- 
rons had been re-equipped: 3 with Spit- 
fires, 4 with P-39's, and 1 with P-47's. 
The rehabilitation of the FAF was still 
painfully slow. To make matters worse, the 
action taken by the MAB in July, while 
favorable with respect to the ground forces, 
did not contemplate any extension of the 
air part before January 1 944. The reasons 
ascribed for the postponement were the 
acute needs for aircraft of the Americans 
and British themselves and shipping diffi- 
culties. In the opinion of the chairman of 
the JRC, the "stalling" was regrettable. 
The FAF had received only a few planes 
and its morale was deteriorating. 19 This 
view was shared by General Eisenhower 
who, on 4 August, cabled the following 
warning to the War Department: "The 
French are much disappointed. . . . The 
morale of their air units is low. This is 
unfortunate, for an air force with high 
morale, even though small, would be of real 
assistance from a military standpoint. 
They have many excellent pilots, and per- 
sonnel skilled in maintenance. General 
Bouscat has the confidence of both political 
factions and should make an able leader." 
The Allied Commander in Chief then rec- 
ommended, as an emergency measure, that 
three groups of the Twelfth U.S. Air Force 
be converted from medium bomber to heavy 
bomber groups, and the medium bombers 
thus made available transferred to the 
French, "The result will be a material in- 
crease in our effective strength." 20 

10 Memo, Artamonoff for Adcock, 2 Aug 43, JRC 
Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab T. 

20 Msg W-651 7, Eisenhower to Arnold, 4 Aug 43, 
AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt. 



202 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



On 8 August a conference on the re- 
equipping of the French Air Force took 
place at AFHQ. It was attended by 
Tedder and his chief of staff, Brig. Gen. 
Gordon P. Saville, both representing Medi- 
terranean Air Command, General Bouscat 
representing the FAF, Brig. Gens. Edward 
P. Curtis and Harold A. Bartron of the 
NAAF, General Spalding and Colonel Arta- 
monoff of the JRC, and a number of other 
officials. Opening the meeting, Tedder an- 
nounced that an Anglo-American commit- 
tee was being formed for the purpose of 
handling the rearmament of the FAF. Its 
first aim would be to make certain that all 
present French squadrons equipped with 
British or American equipment, whether op- 
erating in the Mediterranean or in the 
United Kingdom, had sufficient supplies 
and adequate reserves of airmen and 
ground crews. In the opinion of Tedder, 
this objective should be reached before the 
rearming of other squadrons was contem- 
plated. Speaking for the FAF, General 
Bouscat disclosed that he had just drawn 
up a rearmament plan, already approved by 
Generals Giraud and de Gaulle, based pre- 
cisely on availability of both airmen and 
ground personnel. Since June, he contin- 
ued, French pilots were being trained in 
the United States at the rate of one hundred 
monthly. The rest of the training was ef- 
fected either in the French training center 
established in Morocco, or under the su- 
pervision of the U.S. Air Forces in North 
Africa. Once ready the French squadrons 
would be assigned to the Allied air pool for 
employment, preferably in groups of two 
or more, under the control of the Air Com- 
mander in Chief in the Mediterranean and 
according to operational requirements. 21 

21 Min, Conf on FAF Rearmt, 8 Aug 43, JRC 
360/001 Air Force Rearmt Plan and Policy. 



This was in line with the tacit agreement 
reached in the earlier days of Franco-Allied 
collaboration and under which the French 
placed their squadrons at the disposal of the 
CCS for employment by the appropriate 
Allied commanders. 

By mid-August, some 230 planes had 
been shipped from the United States, with 
30 more to follow before the end of 1943. 
Plans as then made by the War Depart- 
ment for the first half of 1944, subject of 
course to CCS approval, contemplated the 
shipment of some 700 additional aircraft. 22 
In terms of squadrons, total deliveries from 
the United States for the years 1943 and 
1944, if approved and carried out, would 
provide equipment for 27 squadrons by the 
end of 1944. 23 

On 29 August General Spaatz informed 
General Arnold that he was equipping one 
French squadron with B-26's and would 
maintain the squadron through 1943 from 
aircraft assigned to the Twelfth Air Force. 
He was also giving the French additional 
B-26's for training to prepare for a second 
squadron in January. Furthermore, he an- 
nounced that the rearmament program, 
then in preparation, would soon be for- 
warded to Washington for action and that 
both Eisenhower and Tedder concurred in 
the steps being taken in the theater to re- 
arm the FAF. To support the squadrons 
already equipped, AFHQ requested the 
War Department to provide equipment for 
eight service units. These were to be in 
addition to the three for which materiel 
had been ordered earlier in April. 24 

23 Msgs, AGWAR to Spalding, 5163, 16 Aug 43, 
5237, 17 Aug 43, and 5448, 19 Aug 43, JRC Cable 
Log. 

33 Msg 4752, Arnold to Eisenhower, 1 1 Aug 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 

"Msg W-8617, Spaatz to Arnold, 29 Aug 43, 
JRC 360/001 Air Force Rearmt Plan and Policy; 



REARMING THE FRENCH AIR FORCE 



203 



On 6 September the Allied committee 
whose impending creation had been an- 
nounced by Air Chief Marshal Tedder at 
the recent AFHQ conference on French air 
rearmament was formally established in 
Algiers. The new agency, known there- 
after as the Joint Air Commission (JAC), 
with General Saville as its first chairman, 
was placed under the control of Mediter- 
ranean Air Command. It took over from 
the JRC, heretofore responsible for all 
French armament matters, the handling of 
problems peculiar to the French Air Force. 
To ensure proper and effective liaison be- 
tween the two bodies, JAC's chairman was 
made a member ex officio of the JRC. FAF 
officers, selected by the French air command 
and approved by the Allied Air Commander 
in Chief, were assigned to the JAC. 25 

The Joint Air Commission immediately 
undertook to work out, in co-operation with 
General Bouscat, a comprehensive program, 
taking into account the materiel which had 
already been ordered and delivered and 
covering aircraft, crews, and ground units. 
Functions assigned to the JAC included not 
only the supervision of the program but 
the training of units and the upkeep of 
French air bases, repair depots, training 
schools, and meteorological stations. The 
commission, in effect, paralleled for the FAF 
the functions of the JRC with respect to the 
ground forces. In it was vested the re- 
sponsibility for overseeing the administrative 
preparation of the French air and service 
units for combat, and making certain that 
they were adequately trained and equipped 

Msg W-7723, Eisenhower to AG WAR, 20 Aug 
43, OPD 400 France, Sec II. 

Msg W-8409, Spaatz to Arnold, 27 Aug 43, 
JRC Cable Log; GO 9, Hq Mediterranean Air 
Comd, 6 Sep 43, JRC 360/001 Air Force Rearmt 
Plan and Policy. For detailed information on the 
organization, me mbership functio ns, and command 
of the JAC, see |Chapter XVTfl below. 



before being turned over to Mediterranean 
Air Command to take part in operations. 26 
Thereafter the War Department would 
refer to the JAC, for appraisal, co-ordina- 
tion, and recommendation, all air requests 
submitted by French military authorities in 
Washington. 

Concerned over the slowness of the air 
program, Generals de Gaulle and Giraud, 
on 18 September, appealed directly to Gen- 
eral Marshall. It was most regrettable, they 
stressed, that the 30,000 men constituting 
the FAF, which contained elements with 
excellent technical training, were not being 
utilized to the maximum of their capacity. 
"In view of the high production capacity of 
the United States and the United King- 
dom," they urged that the program be 
accelerated. 57 Their communication was 
immediately referred to the Joint Strategic 
Survey Committee for study. 

Meanwhile, one of the main objectives of 
both the French and the Allied commands 
had been to push the training of French air 
personnel as thoroughly and speedily as pos- 
sible. Already substantial numbers of 
pilots, crews, and mechanics had attended 
Allied air training centers in Africa. In 
addition the French had opened, mostly in 
French Morocco, a number of schools of 
their own, operating largely with American 
and British assistance in materiel and per- 
sonnel, the British limiting such assistance to 
the British-equipped squadrons. Training 
was reported to be highly effective, students 
responding readily and well to Allied in- 
struction. Only with respect to technical 
questions, such as electronics and the assimi- 
lation of the U.S. supply system, did they 

" MAAF, French Air Force Rearmament Plan, 7 
Mar 44, JRC 360/001 Air Force Rearmt Plan and 
Policy. 

" Ltr 796, de Gaulle and Giraud to Marshall, 18 
Sep 43, ABC 091.711 France (6 Oct 43), Sec 1-A. 



204 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



seem weak, possibly because of their reluc- 
tance to be used as technicians instead of 
as combatants. 28 

Such squadrons as had completed their 
training did not remain idle. As fast as 
they became operational they passed under 
Allied control and were assigned for duty 
with the Northwest African Air Forces. 
The arrangement gave the squadrons 
exactly the same status in the Allied organi- 
zation as the British and the Americans: 
unity of command over all, but separate 
administration. Allied control over the 
French squadrons was questioned only once 
indirectly and briefly in June 1944 when 
the French were contemplating an opera- 
tion (Caiman) in support of Resistance 
forces in central France. Debate over 
whether or not they might use FAF squad- 
rons for the purpose was cut short by Allied 
rejection of the whole operation as imprac- 
ticable. 29 

By agreement with the French High 
Command, a procedure was established in 
September 1943 to formalize the assignment 
of squadrons to Allied control. Thereafter 
when a unit was ready for operations, Gen- 
eral Bouscat notified Mediterranean Air 
Command, which in time would publish a 
general order assigning the unit to the ap- 
propriate command. The procedure was 
not always followed to the letter and in Jan- 
uary 1944 it proved necessary to trace the 
assignments of several units far back and 
make them a matter of record. 30 

Once assigned for operations, units were 
broken in gradually. Initially they were 
given relatively easy patrol and convoy 

28 Intervs with Col Gardiner, Apr 50, Col Ervin, 
Jul 51, and Gen Saville, Jul 51. 

20 History of FAF in MAAF, p. 13. 

"GO 11, Hq Mediterranean Air Comd, 26 Sep 
43, JRC 360/003 Status and Employment of Units : 
History of FAF in MAAF, p. 1 2. 



duties under Northwest African Coastal Air 
Force; later, when their flying proficiency 
had reached a point where they could profit- 
ably undertake offensive operations, they 
were transferred to Northwest African Tac- 
tical Air Force. By September 1943 the 
three Spitfire squadrons had taken part in 
the support of operations in Sicily, south 
Italy, and Corsica. Five U.S.-equipped 
units were employed in convoy and coast 
protection in the western Mediterranean. 

On 29 September the final draft of the 
air rearmament program was completed. 
It had been worked out after considerable 
research and study in the JAC by repre- 
sentatives of USAAF, RAF, and FAF, and 
under the guidance and supervision of the 
Air Commander in Chief in the Mediter- 
ranean. The program, known thereafter 
as Plan VII, was designed to provide a 
small, well-balanced force within the limi- 
tations imposed by the scarcity of French 
technical personnel and by other U.S. and 
British commitments. Such a force would 
constitute the nucleus around which the 
renovated air establishment would subse- 
quently be built. All essential elements of 
a tactical force were present in the plan. sl 
Plan VII contemplated no expansion of 
French naval aviation, the matter being 
still under discussion between French and 
Allied naval authorities. 

Under Plan VII the total number of 
squadrons, including those based in the 
United Kingdom, was scheduled to be in- 
creased from 16 to 21 by the end of 1943, 
and to 31 (of which 18 would be U.S.- 
equipped) by July 1944. The plan also 
contemplated the delivery of materiel neces- 

"Memo, Smith for CCS, 29 Sep 43, AFHQ 
0100/4 SACS Red Sec, Fr Matters; Memo, AFHQ 
for Sec CCS, 29 Sep 43, SHAEF Mission to France 
091.711 Rearmt (Fr) Air Force. 900.2. 



REARMING THE FRENCH AIR FORCE 



205 



sary to equip 1 parachute regiment, 37 serv- 
ice Organizations, as well as a number of 
training centers, depots, and other installa- 
tions. Priority of build-up for both oper- 
ational and service units was established on 
the same level as for the first four Army 
divisions. Touching upon the question of 
control, Plan VII merely restated the exist- 
ing practice, namely, that all FAF tactical 
units, both combat and service, formed and 
equipped in North Africa would be assigned 
to NAAF and be employed as elements of 
the Allied air force pool of tactical units. 
Army Air Forces headquarters in Washing- 
ton approved Plan VII on 1 October and, 
three weeks later, informed General Eisen- 
hower that it was prepared to include the 
plan, once it had been approved by the 
CCS, in the Army Supply Program then 
under consideration. 32 

Meanwhile the FAF supply situation, far 
from improving, had become increasingly 
chaotic. In an attempt to formulate proper 
remedial action, General Saville, chairman 
of the JAC, held a lengthy series of con- 
ferences with representatives of Mediter- 
ranean Air Command, XII Air Force 
Service Command, AFHQ, NATOUSA, 
the JRC, and SOS, NATOUSA. Finally 
he was able to announce, on 2 November, 
the supply policy and procedure as now 
agreed to by all agencies concerned. 33 
Henceforth priority for distribution of sup- 
plies and equipment common to air and 
ground forces was set as follows : ( 1 ) one 
expeditionary corps of four divisions, (2) 
air force units already activated and formed, 
(3) air force units to be activated and 



"Msgs 8262, Arnold to Spaatz, 1 Oct 43, 830, 
Styer to Eisenhower, 25 Oct 43, and W-4465, Eisen- 
hower to AGWAR for CCS, 6 Nov 43, JRC Cable 
Log. 

33 Memo, Saville for Loomis, 2 Nov 43, JRC 360/ 
001 Air Force Rearmt Plan and Policy. 



formed in accordance with the program 
recently approved by AFHQ, (4) balance 
of ground forces. Headquarters, French 
Air Force, was to requisition from French 
Ground Forces the materiel needed for Air 
Force units (initial items and 30-day 
supplies) and at the same time submit 
requisitions on the United States for iden- 
tical supplies for repayment to French 
Ground Forces. Pursuant to this policy, 
General Saville submitted to General 
Loomis, for approval by the JRC and trans- 
mittal to the War Department, a first set 
of requisitions needed to get the supply sys- 
tem working. Thereafter, he thought, it 
would be a matter of automatic supply. 

The problem of automatic supply had 
already been raised in connection with the 
maintenance of French ground troops. 
Queried on the matter, the War Depart- 
ment listed the categories of items for which 
automatic supply was provided and those 
for which requisitions were to be submitted. 
After a further exchange of communica- 
tions between the theater and the War De- 
partment, General Loomis, on 24 January 
1 944, informed the French of the procedure 
to be followed by them for the submission 
of requisitions in cases where no automatic 
supply was provided. General Bouscat was 
invited "in the interests of economy" to 
arrange without delay that items common to 
the air and ground forces be stocked under 
the authority and control of the French 
Army. 34 

So that there would be no doubt as to 
which FAF organizations were entitled to 
obtain supplies from U.S. sources, NA- 
TOUSA headquarters, on 31 December 
1943, listed the Air projects which had been 

31 Msg W-3378, AGWAR to Eisenhower, 25 Nov 
43, JRC Cable Log; Memo, Loomis for Bouscat, 
24 Jan 44, J RC 360/002 Items Common to Air and 
Ground; see |pp. W-1U1| above. 



206 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



approved by the Allied Commander in 
Chief. These included the rearmament 
plan (Plan VII) of 29 September and the 
maintenance of such establishments 
(schools, depots, meteorological stations, 
bases, and airfields ) as were considered nec- 
essary. NATOUSA stipulated that all req- 
uisitions for the projects were to be sub- 
mitted to the JAC for review, revision, and 
approval. JAC would then forward the 
requisitions to the XII Air Force Service 
Command in the case of supplies and 
equipment peculiar to the Army air forces, 
and to the JRC in the case of supplies and 
equipment common to air and ground 
forces. It was further directed that XII 
AFSC and the JRC would forward the 
approved requisitions, through their re- 
spective lend-lease channels, to agencies in 
the ^United States for appropriate action. 3 ' 5 
About the same time (26 December), a 
directive issued by XII AFSC and effective 
1 January 1944 changed the Detachment 
of Technical Liaison (French), assigned to 
NAASC since April, into French Section, 
NAASC. The section was charged with, 
among other duties, the command and in- 
spection of all French air units. 38 

By the end of December, approximately 
twenty-two squadrons had been re-equipped 
from U.S. and British sources. {Table 3) 
So had a number of squadrons of the French 
Naval Air Arm. 37 Finally, the French 
themselves had equipped and were main- 
taining, largely with old equipment, four 
air "security squadrons" for colonial gen- 
darmerie purposes. 

It was not until 28 January that the CCS 
finally approved Plan VII, subject to the 

35 Ltr, NATOUSA to SOS and JRC, 31 Dec 43, 
JRC 360/001 Air Force Rearmt Plan and Policy. 
;w History of FAF in MAAF, p. 10. 
37 See |Ch. kill J below. 



condition that modifications might be made 
when required by the military situation. 
Approval of the plan marked the beginning 
of a new phase in the rehabilitation of the 
FAF. Until then "at the end of the queue 
for Allied attention," FAF could now feel 
reasonably certain that, within a short time, 
it would become an effective fighting 
weapon. 38 

Table 3 — American- and British- 
equipped Squadrons of the FAF: 
December 1943 

Location and Type Number 

Total "22 

North Africa 1 16 

Bomber ~- ^ 

Light, A-35 2 

Medium, B-26 1 

Fighter..-. 10 

Hurricane 2 

P-39 4 

P-t7 1 

Spitfire 3 

Transport, C-78 3 

United Kingdom e 6 

Bomber 3 

Heavy 2 

Light 1 

Fighter ^ 

« Plus 1 flight of photographic reconnaissance equipped in North 
Africa. 

^ American-equipped. 
c British-equipped. 

Source: Memo, Fr Liaison Sec NAAF for A-4 Hq NAAF, 29 
Jul 43, and GO II, Mediterranean Air Cornd, 26 Sep 43, JRC 
360/003 Status and Employment of Units; Fr Air Force Rearmt 
Plan, 7 Mar 44, JRC 360/001 Air Force Rearmt Plan and Policy. 

Just before the CCS action, a reorgani- 
zation of the Allied air forces in Northwest 
Africa had been effected coincidental with 
that of the over-all Allied command in the 
theater. In mid-January Lt. Gen. Ira C. 
Eaker replaced Air Chief Marshal Tedder 

3S Min, CCS 143d Mtg, 28 Jan 44; Msg, CCS to 
Allied CinC Mediterranean, 29 Jan 44, FAN 330; 
quotation from History of FAF in MAAF, p. 4. 



REARMING THE FRENCH AIR FORCE 



207 



as Air Commander in Chief in the Medi- 
terranean and assumed command of the 
newly created Mediterranean Allied Air 
Forces (MAAF) now consolidating and 
superseding both NAAF and Mediterra- 
nean Air Command. One of General 
Eaker's first steps was to centralize the air 
service responsibility for all U.S. compo- 
nents of MAAF in a single agency known 
as Army Air Forces Service Command 
(AAFSC), Mediterranean Theater of Op- 
erations. The latter, commanded by Gen- 
eral Bartron, was charged, among other 
duties, with supervising the supply of the 
FAF. On 1 1 February General Bartron 
issued, on orders from General Eaker, 
a directive setting forth the basic policy 
with respect to FAF supply: thereafter all 
requests for supplies not available in French 
stocks and needed for immediate con- 
sumption (except rations, post exchange 
and Special Services supplies which were 
the responsibility of the French themselves) 
were to be submitted to AAFSC, on the 
basis of the tables of basic allowances in 
force for equivalent U.S. units. Appro- 
priate charges were to be made by AAFSC 
in the monthly lend-lease reports to SOS, 
NATOUSA. Within AAFSC the unit 
charged with co-ordinating FAF matters 
was the French Section which had been 
taken over from NAASC upon the latter's 
deactivation. 39 

Immediately after the command reor- 
ganization in the theater, the French Chief 
of Air Staff, General Bouscat, sought and 
obtained from the Supreme Allied Com- 
mander, General Wilson, the definite assur- 
ance that French air units would ultimately 
participate in operations for the liberation 

a, Ltrs 65-5, Hq AAFSC MTO, 11 Feb 44, and 
65^2, Hq AAF MTO, 3 Jun 44, JRC 360/001 Air 
Force Rearmt Plan and Policy. 



of France. Presently the number of squad- 
rons actively engaged in combat had slightly 
increased. In addition to those operating 
from bases in the United Kingdom or em- 
ployed under Mediterranean Allied Coastal 
Command, in early November an initial in- 
crement of two fighter squadrons and one 
reconnaissance flight had joined the com- 
bined Allied air forces in Italy. Six more 
units were on their way to that theater. 
Others would follow as soon as they could 
be made operational. 

Meeting with General Wilson on 7 Feb- 
ruary, General Bouscat reviewed the situa- 
tion of the FAF at the time. The training 
of crews and replacements was completed 
and the necessary maintenance and other 
supporting services were organized. What 
was needed to guarantee that units would 
be ready on time was to speed up the de- 
livery of planes and equipment. "We only 
await the materiel." The FAF, he assured 
the Supreme Allied Commander, was eager 
to carry on the fight against the enemy. 
General Wilson cautiously replied that the 
question of equipment deliveries was one for 
the decision of the CCS who, he reminded 
General Bouscat, were the final authorities. 40 

It now remained generally to implement 
that part of Plan VII which applied to the 
year 1944, the October-December 1943 
slice being almost completed. Under the 
terms of the plan, the United States was 
to assume the greater share of the task. Of 
the eleven additional combat squadrons to 
be re-equipped by 1 July 1944, ten were 
to receive some 320 American planes of 
various types. All together, the United 
States was scheduled to furnish for the 
entire years of 1943 and 1944, 615 single- 

Min Mtg, Bouscat with Wilson, 7 Feb 44, 
AFHQ 0100/4 SAGS Confs— Gen (Fr), Feb 44- 
Aug 44. 



208 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



engine and 216 twin-engine planes, or a 
total of 83 1 combat and transport aircraft. 41 
Deliveries of British aircraft would be lim- 
ited to equipping, with Spitfires, one addi- 
tional squadron in the United Kingdom, 
and maintaining the existing British - 
equipped squadrons in the Mediterranean, 
less, however, the two Hurricane units now 
being converted to P-47's. 

Very shortly, shipments of American air- 
craft and equipment reached North African 
ports at an increased tempo. Yet between 
February and August, when Plan VII was 
to end, deliveries of airplanes fell con- 
siderably behind schedule. Shortages of 
B-26's and P-47's in particular resulted in 
delaying as -much as three months the final 
re-equipping of several French squadrons. 
The JAC, headed by Colonel Gardiner 
(since 9 February), later by Col. R. Gilpin 
Ervin (after 4 May), grappled with the 
aircraft shortage problem as best it could, 
often by obtaining loans from theater 
stocks pending the arrival of allocations for 
the French. 42 

In early February a request from General 
Bouscat, approved by the JAC, for the de- 
livery of. 100 additional A-24's for use in 
training schools and in police and security 
squadrons was turned down by the MAB 
because the craft were not available. 43 A 
second request, this time submitted to the 
War Department by the French Military 
Mission in Washington, for 100 primary 
and 100 basic training aircraft likewise was 
disapproved "for failure to submit through 

"Memo, Bouscat for Ervin, 13 May 44, JRC 
360/002 Items Common to Air and Ground. 

42 Both Colonels Gardiner and Ervin were Air 
Corps officers. Colonel Gardiner, it will be recalled, 
had already served as the first chairman of the Joint 
Rearmament Committee (16 December 1942 to 5 
June 1943). 

M Msg W-2124, Eaker to Arnold, 7 Feb 44, JRC 
Cable Log. 



the JAC and lack of a definite training 
plan." American authorities in Washing- 
ton felt that there was no necessity for 
sending training aircraft to North Africa as 
long as a training program was continued in 
the United States. This training program, 
incidentally, called for a monthly produc- 
tion of some 80 pilots. But the French were 
reported to be having difficulty in finding 
the necessary candidates. 44 

Having been informed by the War De- 
partment that the B-26's being delivered to 
the French were not to be equipped with 
the Norden bombsight, General Eaker, in 
a letter to Maj. Gen. Barney McK. Giles, 
chief of the Air Staff in Washington, voiced 
the opinion that this was a mistake. There 
was little point in delivering an aircraft that 
was not fully equipped to do a good mili- 
tary job. Moreover, there could be no 
question of security since more than a thou- 
sand of these bombsights had been left in 
bombers that had gone down over enemy 
territory. Two weeks later War Depart- 
ment officials reversed their stand and 
authorized General Eaker to leave the 
bombsight on the B-26's allocated to the 
French. 4S 

Apparently feeling that more energetic 
action should be taken in Washington to- 
ward the implementation of Plan VII, now 
the "accepted guide" in the theater, Gen- 
eral Eaker urged General Giles to organize 
a staff agency which would take prompt 
action on requests from his command for 
materiel to equip the FAF. 4G A visit to the 
French squadron then training in Sardinia 
with B-26's had convinced General Eaker 



" Msg AFHQ-604. Arnold to Eaker and JAC, 24 
Feb 44, JRC Cable Log. 

11 Ltrs, Eaker to Giles, 29 Feb 44, and Giles to 
Eaker, 25 Mar 44, History of MAAF, Vol. II. 

40 Ltr, Eaker to Giles, 6 Mar 44, History of MAAF, 
Vol. II. 



REARMING THE FRENCH AIR FORGE 



209 



that French pilots were "tops." In his 
opinion, it was essential that the American 
agreement to rearm French air units be 
fully carried out. "This program should 
be pressed to the limit," he asserted in a 
personal letter to General Arnold. "We 
ought to give the French the equipment 
since they have such a fine offensive spirit." 
General Eaker then praised their willingness 
to serve as subordinates. "They fit right 
into our organization willingly and cheer- 
fully and there is never any question about 
who is in command." All the French 
wanted, he concluded, was an airplane and 
a bomb. 47 

By April the number of units available 
for combat had not increased as substan- 
tially as the French had hoped. Yet in 
May, during the great Allied offensive lead- 
ing to the fall of Rome, no less than 1 1 
squadrons were operating within the com- 
bined Allied air forces. Three more soon 
were to reach Italy, making a total of 14 
divided in 4 groups. From the fall of Rome 
on 5 June up to 15 August, date of the as- 
sault on the southern coast of France (An- 
vil), several of the 14 squadrons would be 
engaged in various pre-ANViL activities: 3 
in coastal protection, 7 in bombing action 
on German airfields, fortifications, and lines 
of communication, and 2 flights of 1 squad- 
ron in reconnaissance missions. 48 Nearly 
all crews of the B-26, P-47, and P-38 
squadrons had undergone their training at 

11 Ltr, Eaker to Arnold, 2 1 Mar 44, History of 
MAAF, Vol. II. 

48 It was in the course of a reconnaissance mis- 
sion that the celebrated writer, Maj. Antoine de 
Saint Exupery, met with a fatal accident over the 
Mediterranean on 31 July 1944. 

For details on organization, control, and opera- 
tions of FAF units in the various theaters of opera- 
tions, see "Les Forces Aeriennes Frangaises" ; Gen- 
eral Rene Bouscat, "L'Armee de l'Air francaise 
dans la Campagne d : Italie," Revue de la Defense 
Rationale (February, 1946), pp. 233-37; History 
of FAF in MAAF. 



the "transition school" specially set up for 
the French by MAAF in early May. The 
school, located near Tunis and run under 
the control of the J AC, offered a modified 
instructional program as the students all had 
previously received some training. 49 

To enable the squadrons contemplated 
under Plan VII to maintain their war effort 
through the second half of 1944, it was in- 
dispensable that the needs of French auxil- 
iary organizations in North Africa, such as 
schools, replacement centers, airfields, and 
medical and quartermaster services, be 
properly assessed and filled. To this end, 
General Bouscat submitted to the J AC, on 
14 May, a list of requisitions. He reviewed 
the composition, purpose, and activities of 
the various organizations concerned. Their 
total strength was estimated at 20,250 mili- 
tary and 6,500 civilian personnel. The 
number of aircraft in use in the training 
centers was given as 819, of which 322 were 
of old French design, 181 of U.S. pre-1939 
manufacture, 274 of recent American types, 
and 42 of British design which had been 
turned over to the French by the RAF since 
1942. General Bouscat's requisitions were 
promptly reviewed by the JAC and trans- 
mitted to the JRC for study and approval. 50 

In anticipation of the disbandment of 
XII Air Force Training and Replacement 
Command, which had been giving combat 
training to French bomber crews and fight- 
er pilots, the JAC, JRC, and other theater 
agencies arranged for the transfer to the 
French of sufficient equipment to enable 
them to continue their own training. As 
no advance trainers were available from 
U.S. sources, the French, at the suggestion 
of the JAC, attempted to obtain 25 Harvard 

Intrrv with Ervin, Jul 51. 
M Memos, Bouscat for JAC, 13 May 44, and Ervin 
for Loomis, 5 Jun 44, JRC 360/002 Items Common 
to Air and Ground. 



210 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



planes from the Canadians. The MAB, 
having no authority to assign Canadian air- 
craft, advised the French to refer their re- 
quest to the Canadian Government through 
British channels. The project was subse- 
quently abandoned. The MAB, however, 
authorized the transfer of 26 aircraft 
(including 21 B-26's) used in the French 
training program and no longer needed by 
the American air forces in the theater. This 
was in addition to earlier similar transfers 
(13 aircraft in October 1943 and 8 more 
in February 1944) by XII Air Force Train- 
ing and Replacement Command. Later, in 
July, the theater would approve one more 
transfer, also for training purposes, of 90 
P-40's which the RAF no longer needed in 
North Africa. 51 

On 6 June 1944 the powerful Allied 
armada, which for many months had pa- 
tiently organized and trained in the United 
Kingdom, was off on its initial assault of 
western France. Among the air units en- 
gaged in the gigantic undertaking, a small 
but determined French air force, integrated 
into the RAF, was playing its part. It was 
composed of the seven squadrons (4 
fighter, 1 light bomber, and 2 heavy bomber 
squadrons) which had already participated 
in air operations over western Europe be- 
fore D Day. 

Meanwhile, in the Mediterranean thea- 
ter, the squadrons engaged in Italy were 
pursuing their combat and reconnaissance 
activities, and three others, then in train- 
ing in North Africa, were making ready to 
join their comrades at a later date. How- 
ever, French air participation in operations 

11 Memo, Ervin for Loomis, 23 Jun 44, JRC 360/ 
002 Items Common to Air and Ground; Msgs W— 
45370, Arnold to Eaker, 3 Jun 44, and Eaker to 
Arnold, F-52950, 31 May 44, MX-24412, 13 Jul 
44, 25045, 18 Jul 44, and M-25071, 18 Jul 44, 
JRC Cable Log. 



in that theater would soon cease. In ac- 
cordance with earlier agreements, all French 
air squadrons were pulled from Italy along 
with the units of the French Expeditionary 
Corps and sent to join the pool of forces 
being readied for Anvil. 

Headquarters, Force 163, the headquar- 
ters charged with the planning and execu- 
tion of Anvil, on 28 June published the 
list of FAF organizations designated for the 
operation. The list included twelve squad- 
rons and several service units. To ensure 
that the units would be thoroughly equipped 
before their release to Force 163, General 
Eaker requested and obtained from the 
MAB the authorization to transfer to 
them such items as were necessary to com- 
plete their equipment. Transfers were made 
on the basis of requests submitted by the 
French directly to NATOUSA. Mean- 
while, the JAC inspected the units to as- 
certain whether or not they had their full 
load of equipment. 52 

It soon became evident that, as in the 
case of the ground forces, the French mili- 
tary authorities had activated too few 
service units to make the combat squadrons 
self-supporting. For lack of personnel, they 
were not organizing all the maintenance 
units required under Plan VII. The squad- 
rons, as a result, were operating "on a shoe- 
string." To keep them going, MAAF had 
been compelled to provide, by mid-July, 
more than 450 American maintenance 
men. 53 

"Memo, Hq Force 163 for CG NATOUSA, 28 
Jun 44, AFHQ AG 400-1 Fr Sups; Msgs, Eaker 
to Arnold, M-25502, 21 Jul 44, and M-28515, 18 
Aug 44, JRC 360/002 Items Common to Air and 
Ground; Msg W-86188, Arnold to Devers, 26 Aug 
44, JRC Cable Log. 

'* Msg M-23957, Eaker to Arnold, 8 Jul 44, ABC 
091.711 France (6 Oct 43), Sec 2-A; Msg 
M-24150, Eaker to Arnold, 10 Jul 44, History of 
MAAF. Vol. XXII. 



REARMING THE FRENCH AIR FORCE 



211 



Participating in Anvil operation, on 15 
August, were twelve French squadrons op- 
erating from bases in Corsica, Sardinia, and 
Italy and representing approximately one 
twentieth of the combined Allied air 
armada. They were joined later by other 
French squadrons operating elsewhere in 
the Mediterranean. Tactically they were 
employed, at least during the initial phase 
of the operation, in exactly the same man- 
ner as the U.S. and British units engaged 
in support of Anvil. They operated 
directly under the control of XII Tactical 
Air Command (TAC), commanded by 
General Saville who, it will be recalled, had 
served as the first chairman of the JAC. On 
the recommendation of General Wilson, 
who felt that for psychological and political 
reasons French units should be employed in 
support of French Resistance forces, Gen- 
eral Eaker directed XII TAC to put French 
squadrons, whenever operationally practi- 
cable, to such use. While so employed, the 
units, nevertheless, remained firmly under 
Allied control. 54 

Also taking part in Anvil was 1 er Regi- 
ment de Chasseurs Parachutistes (1st 
RCP), a parachute regiment equipped un- 
der Plan VII as one of the auxiliary units 
of the FAF. The regiment was to function 
independently of the other parachute units 
(2d RCP and 3d RCP) activated and 
equipped in the United Kingdom and 
destined to operate as part of the SAS 
Brigade. " Organization and equipping of 
the 1st RCP were the subject of much dis- 
cussion and the source of considerable dif- 
ficulties for many months. 

In March, and again in early May 1943, 

* History of FAF in MAAF, pp. 20 21. 

'"' The following brief outline draws upon JRC 
360/006 Fr Para chute Regt. On 2d RCP and 3d 
RCP, sce |p. 182| , above. 



General Giraud had requested, and AFHQ 
had subsequently approved, the equipping 
of a parachute regiment composed of one 
headquarters company, one service com- 
pany, and two combat battalions. On 18 
May the War Department authorized the 
delivery of the ground items, the air equip- 
ment not being available at the time. 56 
Twice in August and September AFHQ 
requested that the air items be shipped. Not 
until the end of September did the War 
Department announce that most of the 
necessary equipment had been assigned and 
would reach North Africa shortly. Mean- 
while, the unit which until then had been 
issued only vehicles and clothing had been 
training with its old French rifles. By Octo- 
ber the regiment, with a strength of approxi- 
mately 1,600 men, had reorganized on a 
U.S. table of organization and received on 
loan from SOS some weapons, including 
Ml rifles, to permit immediate training 
with U.S. equipment. In November the 
unit learned the American parachute-jump 
technique at the Fifth Army Airborne 
Training Center. It was still expecting its 
equipment, most of which was said to have 
already left the United States. Yet by the 
end of November it had received no para- 
chutes. 

The situation of the regiment at the be- 
ginning of the year 1944 was not a happy 
one and held little hope for early employ- 
ment in combat. The regiment had not 
completed its training (half of the men had 
not even fired their Ml rifles). Of the 
parachute boots issued, 30 percent had been 
found to be too large. Worse yet, reports 
indicated that insufficient personnel replace- 
ments were available to maintain the unit at 

Msgs W-3, AFHQ to AGWAR, 7 May 43, and 
8258, AGWAR to AFHQ, 18 May 43, JRC Cable 
Log. 



212 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



strength in case it was engaged in operations. 
These and other considerations prompted 
AFHQ officials to decide, on 14 January, 
that the regiment was unfit for combat and 
would not be sent to Italy as originally con- 
templated. Instead it would be held in 
North Africa for future operations. In 
April it underwent further training at Fifth 
Army Airborne Training Center. As 
the unit was still short of equipment, 
NATOUSA authorized SOS to issue to it 
some of the missing items subject to their 
ultimate replacement by SCAMA. In late 
May, at the request of the French High 
Command, the regiment was designated for 
participation in the conquest of Elba (Oper- 
ation Brassard). On 13 June, four days 
before the attack, AFHQ announced that, 
owing to heavy demands for air transport in 
Italy, no aircraft would be available for the 
airlift of the regiment." The regiment was 
finally included in the Anvil troop list and 
subsequently transported to southern 
France, not, however, as a parachute unit, 
much to the disappointment of its person- 
nel, but as a general reserve infantry organ- 
ization assigned to 1st French Army. 
Activated some eighteen months earlier, 1st 
Parachute Regiment had yet to fire its first 
shot in combat. 

Near the end of August, with the Anvil 
forces in fast pursuit of the enemy, Allied 
commanders agreed that the French air in- 
crement operating in France under XH 
Tactical Air Command should be granted 
a measure of tactical autonomy. As a first 
step, there was established, on 1 September, 
a "French Section, XII Tactical Air Com- 
mand," the nucleus of what was to become 
a month later the "1st French Air Corps" 
commanded by Brig. Gen. Paul Gerardot. 



57 De Lattre dc Tassigny, Histoire de la Premiere 
Armee Franfaise, p. 22. 



On 13 November 1st French Air Corps, 
now a full-fledged tactical air command, 
left the control of XII TAC, and the two 
organizations were consolidated under the 
First Tactical Air Force (U.S.). The 
French component included two B— 26 
bomber groups and three fighter groups, 
each consisting of three combat squadrons 
and one tactical reconnaissance squadron. 
In order adequately to supply, maintain, 
and support these units, a French Air 
Depot group was created with the ap- 
proval of the CCS, its equipment being 
provided from materiel available in Ameri- 
can stocks in North Africa. 58 Thereafter, 
1st French Air Corps was to enjoy, under 
First Tactical Air Force, a degree of auton- 
omy similar to that enjoyed by 1st French 
Army within the U.S. 6th Army Group. 
Its essential mission was generally to act in 
direct support of 1st French Army. 

By November most of the FAF had left 
North Africa and MAAF's control. More- 
over, the JRC and the JAC whose presence 
was no longer needed in that theater had 
been disbanded and their key personnel 
transferred, at General Devers' suggestion 
and with the concurrence of Generals Eisen- 
hower and Marshall, to the control of 
SHAEF. Already General Bouscat had 
moved his staff to Paris. 59 

All twenty-five operational squadrons re- 
equipped under Plan VII were then actively 
engaged in combat, seven in northern 
France with the RAF as part of the 2d 
Tactical Air Force (British), and approxi- 
mately sixteen, constituting 1st French Air 
Corps, as part of the First Tactical Air 
Force (U.S.). Two others were still op- 
erating in northern Italy. 

w Msg, CCS to Wilson, 23 Oct 44, FAN 441. 

59 Msgs FX-24575, Devers to Marshall, 13 Sep 
44, and WX-32283, Marshall to Devers, 17 Sep 44, 
JRC Cable Log. 



REARMING THE FRENCH AIR FORCE 



213 



After nearly two years of Allied team- 
work in the Mediterranean, the rebirth of 
French military aviation had become an ac- 
complished fact. The North African air 
rearmament program could now be consid- 
ered as having come to an end. It had 
produced a "small but damned good" air 
force whose performance, "second to none" 
in the Italian campaign, would for the An- 
vil period be remembered "with pride." eo 



80 Intcrvs with Saville and Ervin, Jul 51. These 
and other equally favorable statements by Allied 
field commanders — Generals Alexander and Clark 
in particular (see |pp. 178-79J 179n, above) — are 
greatly at variance with the curt and disparaging 
remarks about the French in General H. H. Arnold's 
Global Mission (New York: Harper & Brothers, 
1949) . His implication that they were playing pol- 



Operationally, the undertaking had been 
highly successful. Morally — and to use the 
words of one chairman of the JAC — "it 
would have been a cruel thing, harmful to 
our international relations, to have neg- 
lected the French Air Force. ... The 
psychological effect of re-equipping such 
splendid personnel was most far reaching. 
... It helped greatly the cause of the Al- 
lies and played an essential part in the de- 
velopment of the winning team." 61 

itics when submitting a particular air equipment re- 
quest (p. 541) and his statement that, by January 
1945, the French Army and Air Force "had not won 
a battle," although vast quantities of equipment and 
supplies had been given to them (p. 543), do not 
appear consonant with the facts. 

01 Statement in corres from Gardiner, OGMH. 



CHAPTER XIII 

Rehabilitating the French Navy 



When the members of the Joint Rearma- 
ment Committee assembled for their first 
meeting on 23 December 1942, they were 
to consider plans for the rehabilitation of 
the naval as well as the other French armed 
forces. The committee confronted a situ- 
ation unique in the annals of naval history. 
A month earlier, on 27 November, nearly 
one half of the entire French Navy, immobi- 
lized in the port of Toulon since June 1940, 
had chosen to scuttle itself, when threatened 
with German seizure, rather than join the 
Allies in North Africa. Of the four vessels, 
all submarines, which had escaped the holo- 
caust by putting to sea, three successfully 
reached North African ports. Another 
group of vessels under the command of Ad- 
miral Rene Godfroy, demilitarized and kept 
under British surveillance in the port of 
Alexandria since July 1940 as a result of the 
admiral's unwillingness to join the Royal 
Navy, was still refusing to rally to the Allies. 
A third, smaller group, consisting of Ad- 
miral Robert's vessels anchored in French 
West Indies ports, was likewise rejecting 
Allied appeals to join North Africa. 

There was a brighter side. Two French 
fleets were now at war with the Axis — the 
Free French Naval Forces of General de 
Gaulle, which had been in operation since 
the fall of 1940, and the North African 
Naval Forces of General Giraud. Both 
were under Anglo-American operational 
control, but were acting independently of 
each other and would continue to do so un- 



til the fusion of all French armed forces in 
late July 1943. 

The Free French fleet, commanded first 
by Vice Adm. Emile Muselier, later, after 
February 1942, by Admiral Auboyneau, 
had, from modest beginnings, grown to a 
well-equipped and seasoned force composed 
of 5 destroyers, 4 submarines, 13 corvettes 
and sloops, 1 training ship, and various 
miscellaneous auxiliary ships. 1 The ves- 
sels, some British, the others French or 
enemy captured, had been operating large- 
ly as convoy escorts under the control of 
the Royal Navy which provided them with 
equipment and maintenance. 

The North African fleet, then com- 
manded by Vice Adm. Francois Michelier, 
represented a considerable potential force 
consisting of some forty-five combat vessels 
and a number of auxiliary craft. The ships 
generally were in such poor condition, how- 
ever, that the question of their employment 
posed a serious problem. Many had been 
stripped of armament and equipment dur- 
ing the 1940-42 armistice period; others 
had been severely damaged in the brief but 
bloody encounter with Allied naval forces. 
The French North African authorities had 
insufficient means and materials at their 
disposal to make the ships fit for further 
operation. The few weapons, tools, and 
parts which they had concealed at great 

l App. 2 to Ltr, Fenard to Leahy, 15 Oct 43, 
SHAEF Mission to France 900-4 Rearmt Plan 
and Policy. 



REHABILITATING THE FRENCH NAVY 



215 



FRENCH SUBMARINE, CASABLANCA HARBOR, joins Allied forces in North 
Africa, 12 November 1942. 



risk from Italo-German armistice commis- 
sions represented only a minor proportion 
of the materiel required. 2 

The work of rehabilitating the North 
African Naval Forces began in December 
1942- The Anglo-American Allies then 
agreed to assist them by furnishing mate- 
rials to carry out relatively minor repairs in 
French shipyards, by placing Allied ship- 
yards and naval facilities in North Africa 
at their disposal in the case of more impor- 
tant overhauling, or by sending vessels re- 
quiring considerable repairs or refitting, but 



~ One French naval official is said to have suc- 
ceeded in assembling and hiding seventy-five 
75-mm. guns, and forty-five 37-mm. guns. Ad- 
miral Pierre Barjot, "Le Debarquement," La France 
el son Empire dans la Guerre (Paris: Editions 
Litteraires de France, 1947), I, 207-34. 



able to make the journey, to naval estab- 
lishments in the United States, The re- 
sponsibility for co-ordinating these activi- 
ties was assigned to the JRC upon its 
creation in mid-December. 

At the end of December Admiral Miche- 
Her submitted to the JRC a general pro- 
gram of repairs and alterations which he 
considered necessary lor the rehabilitation 
of the forces and establishments under his 
command. His proposal involved fitting 
8 escort vessels and 6 destroyers with mod- 
ern antiaircraft armament, asdic (antisub- 
marine direction indicator) and radar 
equipment, sending the battleship Richelieu 
to the United States for repairs, and fitting 
13 submarines with asdic. It also called 
for the delivery from Allied sources of a 



REHABILITATING THE FRENCH NAVY 



217 



considerable amount of stores and supplies 
for naval shore establishments, dockyards, 
and naval aviation. 

In forwarding Admiral Michelier's pro- 
gram to the CCS, General Eisenhower 
pointed out that the provision of secret 
materiel such as modern radar and fire 
control equipment would require an early 
policy decision between Washington and 
London. He saw no objection to the issue 
of some form of asdic since several French 
vessels already had Allied equipment of this 
type. In his opinion and that of Allied 
naval officials in the theater, the most ur- 
gent problem was to have French convoy 
escort ships properly furnished with asdic 
and close-range antiaircraft. The rearma- 
ment of the Richelieu, reputedly one of the 
finest battleships in existence at the time, 
was largely a matter of French prestige; 
but the vessel, if put into operation, would 
serve usefully in releasing an Allied battle- 
ship from the Atlantic. The French were 
ready and willing to start immediately on 
this general program in which Admiral Sir 
Andrew B. Cunningham, commander of all 
Allied naval forces in the Mediterranean, 
concurred. 3 

Pending approval of the program, Gen- 
eral Giraud proposed to send to Washington 
a naval mission, headed by Vice Adm. Ray- 
mond Fenard, to cooperate with Allied 
officials on such matters as the eventual 
completion of the Richelieu, the repair and 
refitting of other units, and similar ques- 
tions. The proposal having been endorsed 
by the Allied Commander in Chief and 
through him by the CCS, Admiral Fenard 
left for Washington in late January 1943. 4 
The Naval Mission, though separate from 

1 Msg, Eisenhower to CCS, 2 Jan 43, NAF 78. 
* Msg, Eisenhower to CCS, 7 Jan 43, NAF 91. 



General Bethouart's Military Mission, 
worked in close collaboration with it. 

It was then that a curious and somewhat 
befuddled situation arose in connection with 
the payment of French naval personnel. 
The confusion originated as a result of the 
dispatch, on 29 December, of a message 
from Navy Secretary Frank Knox to Rear 
Adm. John L. Hall, commander of Sea 
Frontier Forces, Western Task Force. The 
message authorized and directed the pay- 
ment by U.S. naval disbursing officers of 
all personnel of the French North and West 
African naval units operating with and for 
the United Nations. Greatly surprised at 
this offer, which was described to him as 
emanating from President Roosevelt, Ad- 
miral Michelier consulted General Giraud, 
who in turn registered considerable aston- 
ishment since he had already taken the 
necessary financial measures for the pay- 
ment from funds available to him of all 
ground, sea, and air forces under his com- 
mand. At the direction of the French Com- 
mander in Chief, Admiral Michelier ex- 
plained to Admiral Hall why the offer could 
not be accepted, and expressed his personal 
gratitude "for the generosity which had in- 
spired this gesture." 5 Apprised of these 
negotiations and of the initial offer made 
without his knowledge, General Eisenhower 
informed the CCS on 18 January that it 
would continue to be his policy to respect 
the apparent desire of the French to main- 
tain their forces in North Africa without re- 
course to direct financial assistance from the 
United States. 6 The issue was now closed. 
The French North African authorities, who 
had already begun paying their personnel 
from funds available to them, continued to 

3 AFHQ. Msg (no rcf), I Armed Corps (signed 
Patton) to FREEDOM, 16 Jan 43, JRC Cable Log. 
Msg, Eisenhower to CCS, 18 Jan 43, NAF 108. 



218 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



do so. In the case of crews and other per- 
sonnel temporarily stationed in the United 
States, arrangements were made for ad- 
vances from the Treasury Department sub- 
ject to repayment from French resources. 7 

Meanwhile, a program of rehabilitation 
had been worked out after consultation with 
the French and a conference with Admiral 
Cunningham and Rear Adm. William A. 
Glassford, commander in chief of Amphib- 
ious Forces, Northwest African Waters. 
The latter, who had just returned from 
Casablanca where he had had an oppor- 
tunity to inspect French naval vessels in that 
area, submitted to the CCS, on 17 January, 
the final recommendations of the theater 
regarding action and priorities for the re- 
habilitation program. The recommenda- 
tions were made with a view to putting 
French ships in operation at the earliest 
possible date. 8 

The CCS, already assembled for the 
Casablanca Conference (14-26 January) 
examined the problem of reconditioning the 
French fleet in general and the specific pro- 
gram proposed by Admiral Glassford. At 
one of the meetings attended by General 
Giraud, Admiral King pointed out that 
arrangements were well in hand for the 
refitting in rotation of the French warships. 
Resources, he explained, would not permit 
of their being dealt with all at once. Ad- 
miral Pound then seized the occasion to 
welcome the entry of the North African 
fleet on the side of Allied naval forces. 
From his experience at the beginning of the 
war, he was confident that the French Navy 
would render, once again, substantial and 
valuable assistance especially in fighting the 

7 Ltr, D. W. Bell to Hull, 26 Feb 43, OPD 336.2 
France, Sec I. 

8 Msg, Eisenhower to CCS, 17 Ian 43, NAF 105. 



U-boat menace. 9 Two days later, on 21 
January, the Combined Chiefs informed 
Admiral Glassford that they approved cer- 
tain of his recommendations. They also 
informed him of the respective parts which 
the United States and the United Kingdom 
were prepared to play in arming, equipping, 
and overhauling French naval vessels and 
installations in North and West Africa. 
All vessels to be overhauled, such as escorts, 
submarines, cruisers, and destroyers, were 
to be sent to shipyards in the United States; 
none would be sent to the United Kingdom 
for the moment as it would be impracti- 
cable. 10 When, a few weeks later, the first 
vessels reached U.S. shipyards, the recondi- 
tioning program got fully under way. Its 
progress was not affected by the temporary 
desertion of crews to Gaullist vessels then 
anchored in U.S. harbors, 11 

On 27 January, AFHQ formulated a 
policy to govern the rehabilitation of the 
North African Naval Forces. The under- 
taking was to aim at providing forces cap- 
able of carrying out the following roles: 
local defense of ports, escort for coastal con- 
voys, ocean escort, submarine operations. 
Rehabilitation of course meant repair and 
refitting of existing vessels. In the eyes of 
the French it also meant the acquisition of 
new units. At their request, General Eisen- 
hower urged the CCS, on 1 March, to ap- 
prove the transfer to them of a number of 
ships including destroyers, escorts, and tugs, 
planes and equipment for their Naval Air 
Arm, clothing and foodstuffs for their per- 
sonnel, as well as ship repair and construc- 
tion materials and machine tools for their 
naval installations. He also recommended 

"Min, CCS 62d Mtg, 19 Jan 42, Casablanca 
Conf. 

10 Msg 2226/22, CCS to Glassford, 21 Jan 43, 
OPD 336.3 France, Sec 1. 

11 See |p. ttUn[ above. 




BATTLESHIP JEAN BART AT CASABLANCA after receiving three direct bomb hits 
from a carrier-based dive bomber. 



that the Fenard mission in Washington be 
asked to designate the equipment to be de- 
livered under the shipping allotment re- 
served by General Giraud for naval units 
out of the total 25,000-ton monthly alloca- 
tion. Shipments would be made as agreed 
upon by Admiral Fenard and Overseas 
Supply Division of New York Port of Em- 
barkation ( and not International Division ) , 
the agency responsible for handling naval 
materials. 12 



"Memo, AFHQ (signed Whiteley), 27 Jan 43, 
AFHQ 0100/4 SACS Red Sec, Fr Matters; Msgs 
3729, Eisenhower to CCS, 1 Mar 43, and 4498, 
Eisenhower to AGWAR, 5 Mar 43, JRC Cable 
Log; Memo, Lutes for Somervell, 8 Mar 43, ASF 
File 124 Task Force Chronology, 18 Oct 43. 



On 17 April the CCS examined the 
various piecemeal recommendations sub- 
mitted by the theater, then drafted and 
approved a supply policy for North African 
naval vessels and bases. The policy de- 
termined the extent of the rehabilitation 
program, the procedure to be followed for 
the issue of materials, and the respective 
participation of the United States and the 
United Kingdom in the commitment. W ith 
regard to vessels in operation, the policy stip- 
ulated that the United States and the United 
Kingdom each would supply the necessary 
ammunition, fuel, and other items to the 
vessels operating under their control. 13 

u Note, CCS Secretaries to CCS, 16 Apr 43, OPD 
400 France, Sec II : Min, CCS 80th Mtg, 1 7 Apr 43. 



220 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



By this time a number of ships were being 
overhauled in various dockyards. In New 
York, the Richelieu was having main arma- 
ment completed, radar equipment installed, 
and antiaircraft armament improved. In 
Casablanca, the battleship Jean Bart, badly 
damaged in November 1942, was under- 
going repairs sufficient to enable her to 
steam to the United States later in the year 
for final refitting. In Philadelphia, Boston, 
Hampton Roads, and other American ports, 
cruisers, destroyers, submarines, and various 
miscellaneous vessels were undergoing re- 
pair, with many more to follow in the near 
future. Repairs and refitting were also 
being effected in Casablanca, Algiers, 
Dakar, Oran, and even Bermuda. Twenty 
French merchant ships were being issued 
defensive armament and ammunition. The 
British were about to furnish twenty Walrus 
patrol planes for use by the French Naval 
Air Arm. At all Allied ports in North 
Africa, French officers were being trained 
in British and American methods of harbor 
defense. A French antisubmarine warfare 
school was functioning at Casablanca. 
Gunnery schools were in operation at Al- 
giers and Oran. Selected French personnel 
were being sent to sea in British destroyers 
escorting convoys to study the latest methods 
in antisubmarine warfare. 14 

On 30 April, pursuant to the CCS direc- 
tive issued a fortnight before, the theater 
forwarded to Washington a revised list of 
naval items of munitions and warships 
stores for the French. Two months later 
General Eisenhower proposed to the CCS 
that thereafter new requests for ships, pro- 
posals for major overhauls, and requests for 
increases in armament be referred by Gen- 

" Memo, Naval Members JRC for Gardiner, 7 
May 43: Memo, Gardiner for DCof'S, 14 May 43, 
JRC 905.6/VIII Naval Rearmt. 



eral Giraud's headquarters to AFHQ for 
recommendation, leaving matters of detail 
relating to requests for naval supplies for 
direct handling between the Fenard mission 
and appropriate agencies in Washington. 
Endorsing the proposal, the CCS directed 
that the French submit their requests for 
ships and major items of materiel to AFHQ, 
for recommendation, simultaneously with 
their requisitions to the MAB in Washing- 
ton. They stipulated further that no con- 
sideration would be given in Washington 
to items disapproved by AFHQ. 15 

In early July the theater cabled a request 
for the issue to the French of gun and ma- 
chinery spare parts and maintenance re- 
placements on a scale comparable to that 
authorized similar American naval vessels. 16 
The request was approved by the CCS a 
month later. 

While the overhauling operations were 
proceeding, the question of employment of 
the North African naval vessels and person- 
nel was made the subject of a detailed study 
by the Combined Staff Planners in full con- 
sultation with Admiral Fenard. Until then 
the operational assignment of vessels had 
been effected upon a basis of "cooperation" 
in accordance with the terms of the still valid 
Clark-Darlan Agreement: "French war- 
ships shall operate in close cooperation with 
the CG, US Army, or Allied representatives 
acting with his approval." 17 Feeling that 
there was need for a more precise and 
orderly arrangement, the CPS recom- 
mended that thereafter French naval units, 
when ready for duty, be assigned to opera- 
tions areas by the CCS, initially according 



" Msg, Eisenhower to CCS, 25 Jun 43, NAF 245 ; 
Msg, CCS to Eisenhower, 10 Jul 43, FAN 156. 

"Msg, Eisenhower to CCS, 5 Jul 43, NAF 276; 
Msg, CCS to Eisenhower, 13 Aug 43, FAN 190. 

17 Article VII, Clark-Darlan Agreement, 22 Nov 
42, AFHQ 0100/5 CAO/302/1 MAEB. 



REHABILITATING THE FRENCH NAVY 



221 



to a specific detailed plan, later, if changes 
were required, at the direction of the CCS 
themselves. On 30 July the CCS approved 
the recommendations of the CPS but post- 
poned the issuance of a statement on the 
question of control pending further dis- 
cussion of the matter. 18 

In late July the long-awaited fusion of 
the Free French and North African Forces 
brought into being a single Marine 
Nationale (referred to hereafter as French 
Navy) under the supreme command of 
General Giraud. Admiral Lemonnier was 
appointed Chief of Staff of the integrated 
force, and Admiral Auboyneau the Deputy 
Chief of Staff. The new Navy included 
also the forces which earlier had refused to 
join the Allies. In May Admiral Godfroy 
had finally agreed to rally to General Giraud 
and arrived in Dakar, via the Suez Canal 
and the Cape of Good Hope, with his eight 
ships of which one was the battleship Lor- 
raine. In July the seven vessels immobi- 
lized in the French West Indies had like- 
wise joined the common struggle after the 
resignation of Admiral Robert, then High 
Commissioner for that territory. As a re- 
sult of these successive additions, the French 
Navy now represented a large force of some 
80 ships including 3 operational battle- 
ships, 19 1 aircraft-carrier, 9 cruisers, 21 de- 
stroyers, 22 submarines, and 20 smaller ves- 
sels. Besides these, there were about 60 
auxiliary craft. Available naval personnel 
numbered some 45,000 men. 

By this time the work of rehabilitation 
had made substantial progress. Refitting 
of the Richelieu was nearly completed and 
the vessel was about to be subjected to a 
period of trials and practice runs in the 

iS Rpt, CPS to CCS (CCS 207/10), 19 Jul 43, 
OPD 336.3 France, Sec 1; Mia, CCS 104th Mtg, 
30 Jun 43. 

19 Two more could not be repaired. 



United States. At Casablanca, temporary 
hull repairs to the Jean Bart were con- 
tinuing. A number of ships had left U.S. 
ports upon completion of their refitting and 
had joined others already operating under 
the control of the Naval Commander in 
Chief, Mediterranean. Others were on 
their way to the United States. The British, 
for their part, had made sufficient tem- 
porary repairs to the ships of Admiral God- 
frey's fleet to enable them to sail from 
Alexandria to Dakar, and eventually to the 
United States. They also had repaired and 
refitted in North African ports a number of 
trawlers, escort vessels, and miscellaneous 
small craft unable to cross the Atlantic for 
modernization in American yards. It was 
estimated that when the program was com- 
pleted, the United States would have 
financed approximately 95 percent of the 
cost of French naval rearmament. 20 

The memorandum on the status of the 
French armed forces which Generals Gi- 
raud and de Gaulle jointly addressed to 
General Marshall on 18 September con- 
tained a plea that the naval rehabilitation 
program be implemented speedily. Many 
of the 45,000 sailors constituting the naval 
forces otherwise would remain unused or 
poorly used. The two generals also re- 
quested new ships: 12 destroyers and 30 
escort vessels from the United States, and 3 
destroyers, 1 auxiliary aircraft carrier, and 
3 submarines from the United Kingdom. 21 

In late September, the CCS consolidated 
all existing policies with respect to the 
French Navy into one single memorandum 

20 Rpt, JRC Naval Members to Chairman JRC, 
1 Aug 43, JRC 905.6/VIII Naval Rearmt; Memo, 
Spalding for Brig Gen Arthur R. Wilson, 14 Aug 
43, JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan. 

- L Ltr and Memo, de Gaulle and Giraud to Mar- 
shall, 18 Sep 43, ABC 091.71 1 France (6 Oct 43), 
Sec 1-A; see also |pp. 105 0€| , above. 



222 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



(CCS 358). The memorandum covered 
all aspects of administration and operation- 
al control, such as overhauling, refitting, 
assignment, and employment; it also pro- 
posed a detailed supply policy in connec- 
tion with repairs and the issue of materiel. 
The memorandum was subsequently 
amended on 4 October. The amended 
version (CCS 358/Revised) became the 
official policy governing the rehabilitation 
and employment of the French naval and 
naval air forces and the basis on which all 
subsequent programs or revisions thereof 
were shaped. 22 The provision relating to 
the assignment of vessels was a restatement 
of the policy advocated earlier by the Com- 
bined Staff Planners in their report of 19 
July. With respect to operational control, 
the directive contained a clause which 
merely formalized the practice then cur- 
rent : "French ships assigned to any opera- 
tional area will operate under the opera- 
tional command of the Allied naval area 
commander. They will be utilized to the 
extent of their capabilities and in the same 
manner as other similar Allied ships in the 
area, operating normally under subordi- 
nate French commanders." Internal ad- 
ministration was to remain, of course, the 
concern of appropriate French naval au- 
thorities. The French immediately en- 
dorsed the provisions of the directive and 
signified unqualified approval. 23 

Now that the French Admiralty in Algiers 
controlled vessels operating world-wide, 
many outside of his own theater, the Allied 
Commander in Chief requested the CCS, on 
17 October, to review the procedure with 
respect to French naval rearmament. He 

" Min, CCS 121st Mtg, 1 Oct 43; CCS 358 (Re- 
vised), 4 Oct 43. 

23 Memo, Fenard for Leahy, 15 Oct 43, SHAEF 
Mission to France 091.711 Rearmt Plan and Policy 

900^4. 



recommended that British and American 
naval missions operating under the control 
of the Naval Commander in Chief in the 
Mediterranean be accredited to the French 
Admiralty as representatives of the British 
Admiralty and the Commander in Chief 
of the U.S. Fleet respectively. 24 The Com- 
bined Chiefs replied that they had no ob- 
jection to the proposal provided the French 
Admiralty, in compliance with CCS 358 
(Revised), took up all policy matters 
with the CCS through the executive agent 
of that body, namely, the Commander in 
Chief of the U.S. Fleet acting in concur- 
rence with the British Admiralty delegation 
in Washington. 25 

In late November Admiral Lemonnier 
submitted to the Joint Rearmament Com- 
mittee a list of requisitions for the year 1944 
superseding all previous similar requests 
most of which had been nullified as a result 
of the change in supply policy effected by 
the CCS. The list included a request for 
ships, aircraft, clothing, medical supplies, 
and the normal maintenance of vessels. 
The requisition for clothing was based on 
a personnel strength of 49,000 men. 26 The 
request for additional ships had little chance 
of being granted because the CCS had just 
decided that it would not be beneficial to 
the war effort to make further assignments 
of vessels to the French in the near future. 27 

Another request submitted almost simul- 
taneously by Admiral Lemonnier on behalf 
of the French Naval Air Arm, (Aeronau- 
tique Navale) brought the question of the 
rearmament and maintenance of that force 
into focus. Four naval air squadrons were 

" Msg, Eisenhower to CCS, 17 Oct 43, NAF 472. 
Msg, CCS to Eisenhower, 6 Nov 43, FAN 272. 

M Ltr, Lemonnier to Loomis, 30 Nov 43, JRC 
045/001 Plan, Policy, Progress of Rearmt of Fr 
Navy. 

" CCS 358/3, approved by CCS 4 Nov 43. 



REHABILITATING THE FRENCH NAVY 



223 



operating under Mediterranean Air Com- 
mand. Two had been equipped with 
Sunderlands and Wellingtons by the RAF, 
one with Walruses by the Fleet Air Arm of 
the Royal Navy, and one with Catalinas 
by the U.S. Navy. 28 These units had been 
rearmed at the initiative of individual Allied 
commanders without any definite over-all 
plan and, as a result, the question of their 
maintenance was presenting serious diffi- 
culties. 

The advisability of expanding the Naval 
Air Arm had been the subject of long nego- 
tiations in the course of 1943. As early as 
July the French High Command had re- 
quested the War Department to deliver 255 
planes to be used for the defense of bases 
and ports and for the protection of French 
naval units. The request, although favor- 
ably received by General Eisenhower, later 
was disapproved by the War Department 
on the ground that it had not been con- 
sidered by the theater in relation to French 
Air Force requirements. 2 " As the proposed 
Air program (Plan VII) contemplated no 
expansion of the Naval Air Arm, the 
French, in mid-December, made a second 
attempt to obtain equipment for their naval 
air units. This time the request, largely a 
repetition of the first one, was submitted by 
Admiral Fenard to the U.S. Navy Depart- 
ment. 30 It called for 250 aircraft to equip 

21 Memos, Saville for Loomis, 30 Nov 43, and 
Loomis for Saville, 16 Dec 43, JRC 045/009 Naval 
Aviation. 

3 Msgs 3062, Arnold to Eisenhower, 22 Jul 43, 

W-6872, Eisenhower to Arnold, 8 Aug 43, and 
4752, Arnold to Eisenhower, 11 Aug 43, JRC 
Cable Log. 

38 Admiral Fenard's initial request was submitted 
to the U.S. Navy and not to the Army Air Forces 
as indicated by General Arnold in his Global Mis- 
sion, p. 541. Subsequently, however, a second 
request from Admiral Fenard, dated 7 January 1944 
and addressed to Admiral Leahy as Chief of Staff to 
the Commander in Chief, was forwarded by the 



naval squadrons "for combat duty under 
Allied control as may be prescribed by the 
CCS." The request was referred to Gen- 
eral Wilson for advice and recommendation 
in accordance with the recent CCS decision 
that all French rearmament matters be 
cleared by the Allied Commander in Chief 
in the theater before their submission to the 
CCS. 31 

On 24 January 1944 General Wilson in- 
formed the War Department that no plan 
had been submitted to him by the French 
for the rearmament of their naval air 
squadrons. He urged that no consideration 
be given to arming such units at the expense 
of Allied air forces, and added the informa- 
tion that the French were reported to have 
insufficient trained crews and maintenance 
personnel either for the activation of new 
naval air units or for their continued sup- 
port. 32 In addition, he warned, the theater 
was having considerable difficulty in solving 
the supply problem of the four existing 
squadrons because of the diversity of the re- 
sponsibilities involved. 33 

Endorsing General Wilson's advice and 
recommendation, the CCS, on 25 February, 
disapproved the French request and Ad- 
miral Leahy so informed Admiral Fenard. 34 
Meanwhile, President Roosevelt, consulted 
on the matter by General Arnold, had di- 
rected that French naval air personnel be 
employed in the Mediterranean in French 

latter to the Army Air Forces for action. Ltrs, 
Fenard to Navy Dept, 18 Dec 43, and to Leahy, 
7 Jan 44, ABC 091.711 France (12 Oct 43). 

31 Msg to AFHQ, 1 Jan 44, FAN 288; Msg 7165, 
Arnold to Wilson, 14 Jan 44, JRC Cable Log. 

"Msg W-919, Wilson to AGWAR, 24 Jan 44, 
JRC Cable Log. 

33 Memos, Saville for Loomis, 30 Nov 43, Timber- 
lake for Loomis, 13 Dec 43, and Loomis for Saville, 
16 Dec 43, JRC 045/009 Naval Aviation. 

* Min, CCS 147th Mtg, 25 Feb 44; Ltr, Leahy 
to Fenard, 25 Feb 44, ABC 091.711 France (12 
Oct 43). 



224 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



Air Force units equipped and supplied from 
U.S. sources. 35 

Obviously the matter of expanding the 
Naval Air Arm was, for the present at least, 
a closed one, considering in addition that 
the CCS had just reached an important de- 
cision with respect to French military avi- 
ation. Indeed, on 28 January, they had 
finally approved Plan VII, which, in their 
opinion, represented the maximum objec- 
tive likely to be reached by the French in 
the field of aviation during the current 
war. 36 

In mid-February 1944, the French Ad- 
miralty once again attempted to obtain an 
extension of the naval program. Appear- 
ing before the CCS, Admiral Fenard dis- 
cussed the request for additional vessels 
submitted by Admiral Lemonnier in No- 
vember. He explained that some 10,000 
naval personnel, including specialists, were 
currently unemployed for lack of sufficient 
naval units. A month later the CCS in- 
formed Admiral Fenard that existing con- 
struction programs for combatant ships, al- 
though absorbing all available resources of 
the United Kingdom and the United States, 
would be short of the requirements for 
planned operations during the current year. 
As a result it was not possible to meet the 
French request except for some escorts, sub- 
marine chasers, mine sweepers and other 
miscellaneous ships which the Commander 
in Chief of the U.S. Fleet proposed to trans- 
fer to the French Navy as soon as possible. 37 
So far the French had received or were 
about to receive from U.S. sources 6 de- 
stroyer escorts, 6 patrol craft, and 6 sub- 

35 Memo, Arnold for JCS, 9 Feb 44, ABC 091.711 
France (12 Oct 43). 

30 For details of Plan VII, see bp. 204-05] above. 

a7 Ltr, Leahy to Fenard, 13 Mar 44, OPD 336.3 
France, Sec 1. 



marine chasers, 38 and from British sources 4 
frigates. During the following months, the 
transfer of additional Allied vessels, mostly 
American, such as mine sweepers, sloops, 
and patrol boats, as well as the refloating 
and refitting of salvaged French or captured 
Italian ships, resulted in a substantial in- 
crease of the French Navy. By May it was 
estimated that nearly 100 ships had been 
added, bringing the total of units to ap- 
proximately 240. 39 

Meanwhile, such ships as had been over- 
hauled or acquired had not remained idle. 
For over a year they had been carrying out 
missions in various theaters of operations 
under British or U.S. command, as part 
of the Allied naval pool. In September 
1943 a number of submarines, destroyers, 
and cruisers had temporarily been released 
from Allied control and placed by Admiral 
Cunningham at General Giraud's disposal 
for use in transporting the French ground 
forces engaged in the assault of Corsica 
(Vesuvius ) . 40 In November the Richelieu 
had joined the Home Fleet and four months 
later had been sent to the Indian Ocean 
as part of the British Far Eastern Fleet. 
Other vessels were operating in the Atlan- 
tic and Indian Oceans, as well as in the 
Mediterranean. Several were escorting 
convoys to Murmansk. 

During the coming months of June, July, 
and August 1944, the reborn French Navy 
was to furnish its greatest contribution to 
the Allied war effort and to regain the place 
of honor it had long occupied. Participat- 
ing in the cross-Channel operation (Over- 
lord) as elements of the Allied supporting 
naval pool, commanded by Admiral Sir 

38 Rpt, MAB to CCS, 31 Dec 43, ABC 091.711 
France (6 Oct 43), Sec 2-A. 

31 Andre Truffert, "La Marine Nationalc," La 
France el son Empire dans la Guerre, II, 188-96. 

10 See l p. 101 J above. 



REHABILITATING THE FRENCH NAVY 



225 



Bertram H. Ramsay, were a number of 
cruisers, destroyers, frigates, corvettes, tor- 
pedo boats, submarine chasers, and other 
smaller craft. These vessels, under the com- 
mand of Rear Adm. Robert Jaujard, were 
attached to Rear Adm. Alan G. Kirk's 
U.S. naval force. 41 A week later, on 16 
June, several units commanded by Rear 
Adm, Robert Battet, operating alongside 
British vessels under the over-all command 
of Admiral Troubridge (RN), participated 
in the assault on the island of Elba 
(Brassard). 42 

The most substantial contribution of the 
French Navy was that given in connection 
with the landings in southern France (An- 
vil ) . The Allied naval task force, com- 
manded by Vice Adm. Henry Kent Hewitt, 
included a French increment under Ad- 
miral Lemonnier which comprised the 
batdeship Lorraine, eight cruisers, a num- 
ber of destroyers, and many other smaller 
craft. Like the British and American ships 
engaged in the operation, the French vessels 
were given the task of protecting the invad- 
ing forces and neutralizing enemy coastal 
defenses. In their after-action reports, Ad- 
miral Hewitt and other U.S. naval com- 
manders highly praised the French crews 
for their excellent seamanship and gun- 
nery, their intrepidity under fire, as well as 
the fine sportsmanship of their command- 
ing officers. 43 

A word must be said here of the units of 
fusiliers marins (marines) which the French 

" The old battleship Courbet and other ships no 
longer seaworthy and anchored in U.K. ports since 
1940 were brought close to shore, sunk, and used 
as breakwaters for the protection of artificial har- 
bors. 

" See |pp. 180-811 above. 

" Ltrs, Vice Adm Lyal A. Davidson, Comdr 
Task Force 86, 29 Aug and 5 Sep 44, and Hewitt, 
3 and 15 Sep 44, to CinC U.S. Fleet, AFHQ Royal 
Navy Op file, Op Dragoon, Fr Ships, Rpts. 



High Command activated and put to ex- 
cellent use in operations. Two such units 
accompanied the French Expeditionary 
Corps in Italy, the 1st Fusiliers Marins Reg- 
iment as the reconnaissance regiment of the 
1st Motorized Infantry Division (1st 
DMI), and the Groupe de Canonniers 
Marins (Naval Gunners Group) as a gen- 
eral reserve artillery unit of the CEF. Later, 
in June 1944, the 1st Battalion of Fusiliers 
Marins Commandos (Marine Comman- 
dos) operated as part of the French naval 
forces engaged in Overlord, and the Re- 
giment Blinde de Fusiliers Marins (Ar- 
mored Marine Regiment) landed in France 
as the tank destroyer regiment of the 2d 
Armored Division. All these units, 
equipped and trained under the North 
African rearmament program, gave an ex- 
cellent account of themselves. 

Shortly before the launching of Anvil, 
General Wilson had recommended to the 
CCS that the policy contained in CCS 358 
(Revised) with respect to the supply of 
French ships and ports under immediate 
control of the United States and United 
Kingdom be extended to the ports expected 
to be captured in the forthcoming operation 
and to the French warships and naval per- 
sonnel likely to be operating outside direct 
U.S. and British control. 44 In mid-Sep- 
tember, a month after the operation had 
been launched, the CCS approved the pro- 
posal provided that the supply of repair 
equipment and materials, ships, and stores 
to the French Navy in its home ports and 
to the ports themselves for their rehabilita- 
tion be limited to the extent required for 
the support of operations. 45 

Soon after, the responsibility for the 

"Msg, Wilson to CCS, 15 Jul 44, NAF 719. 
i5 Msg, CCS to Wilson, 21 Sep 44, FAN 424. 



226 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



supply and maintenance of the French Navy 
passed, along with that of all other French 
armed forces, from AFHQ to SHAEF. 
The rehabilitation of the French Navy, 
within the limits set forth by the CCS, was 



nearly completed. The question of fur- 
ther expansion would, thereafter, be a 
matter for discussion between SHAEF au- 
thorities and the French officials in Paris 
before consultation with the CCS. 



CHAPTER XIV 

Liaison, Language, and Training Problems 



In implementing the North African re- 
armament program, AFHQ was confronted 
with a variety of problems affecting, not 
any one phase in particular, but rather the 
entire period of operations. Some resulted 
from human or personal considerations, 
others involved purely material matters. 
All resulted from a situation in which the 
army of one nation was committed to the 
rehabilitation of another nation's forces 
having needs peculiar to them, therefore 
requiring special attention. In general the 
problems stemmed from lack of sufficient 
planning or because of unforeseen develop- 
ments. Their solution depended entirely 
on the action or arrangements initiated by 
AFHQ or NATOUSA subject to final ap- 
proval by the CCS or the War Department. 

Liaison and the Language Barrier 

Foremost among the factors vitally in- 
fluencing Franco-Allied relations, particu- 
larly in the field of rearmament, were the 
language barrier and a dearth of qualified 
liaison officers on both sides. 

American as well as French officers agree 
that, to be successful, a rearmament officer 
must have certain qualifications. Next to a 
thorough knowledge of his subject, he must 
possess a keen understanding of the other 
fellow's approach to the problem, his 
personal and national idiosyncrasies, his 
working habits, and his probable reactions. 
In short, the rearmament officer must dis- 



play a sympathetic attitude. Fluency in the 
foreign language, although highly desirable, 
is not the prime qualification required for 
the position. 1 Judged by such exacting 
standards, few on either side possessed all 
the skills required to perform their task 
adequately. Among the Americans, except- 
ing those officials directly supervising the 
rearmament and training operations whose 
sympathetic attitude was fully recognized 
and appreciated by the French, many were 
unable to understand the French, usually 
from lack of preparation for the positions 
they occupied. Similarly, French officers 
other than those appointed to key posts 
frequently lacked technical knowledge, 
understanding of American organization 
and methods, and fluency in the English 
language. Notable among the exceptions 
were a number of officers recruited in early 
1943 among French residents abroad, espe- 
cially in the United States and Canada. 
After a period of training in U.S. schools in 
the use of American equipment, some fifty 
of these highly qualified bilingual officers 
were assigned by the French High Com- 
mand to the JRC, SCAMA, and French 
depots and supply installations where they 
rendered valuable assistance. 

Fluency in the foreign language, while 
it may be a secondary qualification for re- 

1 Intervs with Col Artamonoff, Dec 49, Col 
Gardiner, Apr 50, Gen Loomis, Jun and Jul 50, Col 
de Beaumont, Jul 50, and Gen Regnault, Jul and 
Sep 50. 



228 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



armament officers, is obviously of primary 
importance for liaison officers. When these 
officers were unable to cope with the finer 
linguistic problems and, in addition, were 
not thoroughly familiar with the technical 
problems involved, their inadequacy led to 
mistranslations or misinterpretations that 
often strained inter- Allied relations. A case 
in point is the serious misunderstanding be- 
tween AFHQ and French Headquarters 
brought about by a letter addressed in Octo- 
ber 1943 by General Whiteley, then Deputy 
Chief of Staff, AFHQ, to General Giraud. 
In his communication, General Whiteley 
requested that, "whenever necessary, equip- 
ment will be drawn from non-participating 
units" in order to complete the re-equip- 
ment of units designated for combat. When 
it became clear, from subsequent French 
requisitions, that General Whiteley's in- 
structions had not been complied with, the 
French were accused of willfully disregard- 
ing orders received. Resentment on both 
sides increased until an investigation re- 
vealed, nearly three weeks later, that the 
English text of the paragraph in question 
had erroneously been translated at French 
Headquarters as: "equipment will be 
drawn from stocks available to non-partici- 
pating units." 2 The very point which 
General Whiteley had wished to stress, 
namely, that nonparticipating units should 
be stripped of their equipment if necessary 
(a matter of considerable dispute at the 
time), had been entirely missed. In other 
instances, misunderstanding resulted from 
faulty translation by Americans. The fol- 
lowing sentence contained in a French di- 
rective, "Des forces franchises operant dans 
un cadre americain" (French forces oper- 
ating within the framework of an American 

J Ltr, Whiteley to Giraud, 20 Oct 43, AFHQ 
0100/4 SACS Red Sec. Italics supplied. 



command), was given by a translator at 
AFHQ as, "French forces operating with 
American cadres." 3 War Department 
translators, as well, occasionally missed the 
particular meaning of a French word. In 
a letter to General Marshall, General 
Giraud spoke of a certain armament pro- 
gram "which we have drawn up" (le pro- 
gramme que nous avons arrite ) . The 
sentence was rendered, first, as "the pro- 
gram which we have held up," later in a 
second translation, intended no doubt to 
improve on the first, as "which we have 
postponed." 1 The resulting inference that 
the French Commander in Chief was post- 
poning his rearmament program, when in 
reality he was fighting for its retention, must 
have been somewhat of a surprise to those 
who read the letter. Not all linguistic er- 
rors, fortunately, were serious in conse- 
quence. Some, by their humorous impli- 
cations, probably contributed to the relief 
of tension between Allied and French 
staffs. In this category can be classed the 
unexpected statement appearing in the 
minutes of the 30 December 1943 meeting 
between Generals Eisenhower and de 
Gaulle, as drawn up by the French record- 
ing officer present. According to the 
French text, the Allied Commander in 
Chief is reported to have assured his visitor 
that he would not fail to include a French 
"talking force" in the cross-Channel opera- 
tion. 5 

In addition to being the source of occa- 
sional misunderstandings, the language bar- 

3 Dir 6014, Fr Hq, 8 Dec 43, JRC 400.2/002 
Stock Control (SCAMA). 

'Ltr, Giraud to Marshall, 27 Aug 43, OPD 400 
France, Sec. II. 

5 The two words appear in English and in quo- 
tations in the French text. Min Mtg, Eisenhower 
with de Gaulle, 30 Dec 43, AFHQ 0100/26 Liaison 
Sec, Mtgs and Confs, Vol. I. 



LIAISON, LANGUAGE, AND TRAINING PROBLEMS 



229 



rier raised considerable technical difficul- 
ties. These might have been greatly re- 
duced had it been possible in the early 
stages of the rearmament operations to pro- 
vide the French with translations in their 
language of U.S. technical manuals and 
publications, none of which were available 
at the time. Recognizing the urgency of 
the matter, the War Department promptly 
undertook a vast program of translation and 
began furnishing French texts as fast as 
they could be prepared and printed. As 
early as March 1943 thousands of copies 
of various manuals were sent along with 
the first large shipments of materiel. Psy- 
chological warfare booklets and numerous 
technical bulletins were subsequently deliv- 
ered, first through the JRC and French 
Training Section, later through the French 
base at Oran, for distribution to troops, de- 
pots, and shops. In September of the same 
year the War Department announced that 
the translation had been undertaken in the 
United States of all American technical 
publications needed for the current re- 
armament program. Yet, by the beginning 
of Phase IV in February 1944, much still 
remained to be done in connection with 
the translation program. 

Even publications in English were not 
always available to the French when most 
needed. In the course of the summer of 
1943, when the first divisions were being 
issued their U.S. equipment, the French 
High Command complained of not having 
complete sets of standard nomenclature 
lists as well as the bulletins, circulars, and 
other publications distributed by the va- 
rious American services. It was not until 
October that the first lists were delivered 
to them. 

To ensure that French units would ob- 
tain all the necessary technical literature, 



whether in English or in French, General 
Larkin recommended in November that the 
French High Command organize a central 
publications depot* The French approved 
the suggestion and on 1 January 1944 es- 
tablished such a depot (Depot frangais de 
Publications americaines) at Oran to serve 
as a clearinghouse for all requests for, and 
issues of, American publications. These 
were of two types: War Department pub- 
lications — such as technical manuals, field 
manuals, and tables of organization and 
equipment — and Ordnance technical pub- 
lications. 

By the end of January the French still 
had not been issued base shop data manuals 
or lists of maintenance factors. In addition 
they had received only half of the publica-. 
tions in French promised earlier by the War 
Department. Without waiting for the rest 
of the documents to arrive, they had under- 
taken the translation of a number of U.S. 
publications. Already in November they 
had published an English-French lexicon, a 
most useful manual in view of the scarcity 
of English-French dictionaries in the theater. 
Technical dictionaries were and continued 
to be in great demand. In April 1944 the 
French General Staff tried unsuccessfully 
to obtain from U.S. sources in the theater 
such dictionaries, for use in particular at the 
Casablanca Vehicle Assembly Line to which 
women interpreters with no technical 
knowledge had been assigned. Dictionaries 
of this sort were not available in U.S. theater 
stocks and the French were advised to ob- 
tain them from the United States through 
their Military Mission in Washington. 

Efforts of War Department and AFHQ 
officials l to provide adequate material both 
in French and in English continued through- 

•Msg L-1076, Larkin to CG NATOUSA, 24 
Nov 43, JRC 461/001 Publications (1943). 



230 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



out the spring of 1944. That they were 
ultimately successful is best illustrated by 
the comments of General Juin, Command- 
ing General, CEF, at the end of French 
participation in the Italian campaign. On 
10 July 1944 General Juin requested the 
chief of the French Military Mission in the 
United States to express to the responsible 
War Department authorities his apprecia- 
tion of the "great care, accuracy and excel- 
lent taste" with which translations of U.S. 
publications had been prepared. 7 

Training 

U.S. assistance in the French training 
program was limited to technical instruc- 
tion in the use of American materiel. At 
no time was tactical training, except in 
minor infantry tactics and amphibious land- 
ings, ever given. By the time that rearma- 
ment operations were fully under way, in 
May 1943, the bulk of the French units con- 
sisted of old and tried regiments, a large 
part of whose personnel had gone through 
both the 1939-40 and the Tunisian cam- 
paigns. Few were the men who had not 
had some military training. It was felt that 
French cadres were sufficiently experienced 
to assume the burden of tactical training. 
In fact, American commanders frequently 
sought qualified French officers, especially 
Air Force officers, to assist in the tactical 
training of comparatively green American 
troops. 8 

In the initial phase of Franco-American 
collaboration, American technical training 
assistance was extended by local U.S. com- 
manders acting on their own initiative. As 

' Ltr, Juin to Chief Military Mission in Washing- 
tan, 10 Jul 44, JRC 461/001 Publications (1 Jan 
44). 

" Memo, Artamonoff for G-4 AFHQ, 2 Aug 43, 
JRC Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab T. 



early as mid-November 1942 General Pat- 
ton arranged to have some French techni- 
cians as well as fighter pilots trained in 
handling American equipment. 9 In De- 
cember, at the request of the French High 
Command, training materials and instruc- 
tors were placed at the disposal of the 
Chantiers de Jeunesse school near Algiers. 10 
Schools for instructing French Ordnance 
and Quartermaster personnel in the use of 
U.S. weapons and materiel were being or- 
ganized in various parts of North Africa. 
As there appeared to be some hesitancy 
about how far this assistance was to be ex- 
tended, General Eisenhower, on 30 and 31 
December, directed the U.S. Fifth Army 
and AFHQ to make sure that U.S. troops 
were giving all possible assistance to the 
North African forces in their training with 
U.S. arms and equipment. 11 AFHQ 
promptly issued an instruction setting forth 
the purpose and general scope of the train- 
ing to be given the French and outlining a 
training plan. 12 Already many French 
cadres, officers as well as noncommissioned 
officers, were receiving instruction within 
American divisions for periods of approxi- 
mately two weeks in armament, vehicle 
driving and maintenance, and signal com- 
munications. 

By mid-March G-3 Training Section, 
AFHQ, found that the training program 
was proceeding satisfactorily. The French 
were reported to have a "keen appreciation 
of problems, both mechanical and person- 

"Memo, Patton for Eisenhower, 21 Nov 42, 
AFHQ SAC 000.2-2 NA Political. 

10 On Chantiers de Jeunesse, see pp. |Snj |68nj 
above. 

11 Ltr, CinC to CG Fifth Army, 30 Dec 42, 
quoted in Fifth Army History, I, 2 ; Ltr, AG 
353/082 C-M, AFHQ, 31 Dec 42, AFHQ 0100 
12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt, Vol. II (3). 

12 AFHQ Training Memo 1, 1 Jan 43, JRC 
353/003 Training Fr Army Personnel. 



LIAISON, LANGUAGE, AND TRAINING PROBLEMS 



231 



nel," and to be making great strides. They 
were supplying personnel for liaison and 
for instruction, and were expected to take 
over the brunt of the burden of instruction 
within a short time." Training equipment 
had been requisitioned by the theater, as- 
signed in Washington, and would soon be 
on its way to North African ports. 

General Eisenhower on 30 March re- 
stated Fifth Army's responsibility in organ- 
izing and training the French forces then 
stationed within its area in French Morocco. 
In a subsequent directive setting forth the 
general policies that would govern the proc- 
ess of French rearmament, AFHQ pre- 
scribed the manner in which training as- 
sistance was to be provided. Basically, the 
U.S. Army was to assist the French Army 
in familiarizing its personnel with the tech- 
nical details of storing, assembly, care, and 
maintenance of all U.S. types of equipment. 
To this end, the practice already established 
of attaching French technical personnel to 
U.S. service units handling equipment for 
delivery to the French was to continue. In 
addition, teams of instructors from U.S. 
combat and service units were to be at- 
tached to French units while they were 
being re-equipped and for as long afterward 
as would be necessary. Responsibility in 
the matter was to be divided. The Com- 
manding General, Fifth Army, was to assist 
combat and supporting service units being 
re-equipped in the care and maintenance 
of their equipment, during both basic train- 
ing in unit stations and field training, until 
such time as the French authorities con- 
sidered assistance no longer necessary. The 
Commanding General, NATOUSA, on the 
other hand, was responsible for instructing 

"Memo, AFHQ G-3 (Training) for Col Ross, 
17 Mar 43, JRC 353/002 Training of Fr Army 
Personnel. 



supply service units in the technical aspects 
of handling and maintaining materiel. 14 

In Washington, meanwhile, War De- 
partment officials were eager to know how 
efficiently the French were going to use their 
newly acquired equipment. On 18 April 
General Marshall asked approximately how 
long a time should be allowed after receipt 
of material for complete training of units; 
also what degree of combat efficiency could 
be expected of these units after the expira- 
tion of the training period. After consulta- 
tion with General Giraud, the Allied Com- 
mander in Chief replied that training would 
take two months for existing infantry divi- 
sions, three months for existing armored 
regiments and reconnaissance and tank de- 
stroyer battalions, and six months for tech- 
nical units. 15 

To co-ordinate its activities with respect 
to the French training program, Fifth Army 
organized, on 23 April, a Rearmament Ad- 
visory Section, redesignated on 15 May as 
the French Training Section (FTS). 16 
FTS was charged with the over-all direc- 
tion and supervision of the training of the 
French divisions stationed in Fifth Army 
area. The section, headed at first by Col. 
Harry A. Flint, consisted of "advisers," as- 
signed one to each of the divisions being re- 
armed, instructors detailed to teach French 
instructors in the use and care of U.S. equip- 
ment, and staff co-ordination teams whose 
main function was to observe the training 

"Dir AG 322.1/060 CS-M, Eisenhower for CG 
Fifth Army, 30 Mar 43, JRC Misc Doc, Item 
5-a, Tab K; Ltr, Eisenhower to CG Fifth Army 
and Deputy Theater Comdr NATOUSA, 13 Apr 
43, JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan. 

,s Ltr, Giraud to Eisenhower, 28 Apr 43, JRC 
902/11 Rearmt Plan ; Msgs 6213, Marshall to Eisen- 
hower, 18 Apr 43, and 8565, Eisenhower to Mar- 
shall, 1 May 43, JRC Cable Log. 

14 For details on composition, organization, and 
working methods of FTS, see |pp. ^3-^b| below. 



232 



REARMING THE FRENCH 




FIRING A 105-MM. HOWITZER, part of the program to train French soldiers in the 
use of U.S. equipment, North Africa, March 1943. 



and maintenance activities of the units. 17 
Three weeks later, on 13 May, General 
Kingman replaced Colonel Flint (who had 
been transferred at his own request to com- 
bat duty) as chief of the FTS. Thereafter 
FTS rapidly grew in size and efficiency. 
Its essential mission became twofold — to 
give maximum training assistance to the 
French and to make sure, by means of in- 
spections, that units were adequately trained 
and properly equipped. In this latter con- 
nection, FTS was in a position to render in- 
valuable service to the JRC. 

A visit made at the end of May to the 
units stationed in French Morocco con- 



17 Memo, Clark for U.S. Advisers, 23 Apr 43, 
AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt. 



vinced Colonel Artamonoff of the JRC 
that U.S. instructors should be placed within 
the units to teach, in particular, preventive 
maintenance of equipment. 18 At his sug- 
gestion, General Kingman immediately 
spread his personnel among the divisions, 
but the number of available instructors was 
too small ( 150 officers and men by July) to 
fill the needs of a rapidly expanding army. 
By August the chief of FTS recognized that 
the procedure was not satisfactory since it 
was teaching every soldier only a little about 
a certain subject and dissipating American 
instructor personnel through the division. 
General Kingman then recommended that 

18 Memo for Red (Artamonoff), 31 May 43, JRC 
Misc Doc, Item 5-a, Tab V. 



LIAISON, LANGUAGE, AND TRAINING PROBLEMS 



233 



U.S. INSTRUCTOR DEMONSTRATING THE USE OF SIGNAL EQUIP- 
MENT to French personnel, North Africa, February 1943. 



division schools be established to which 
could be sent students selected from all in- 
dividual units of the divisions. This 
method, he felt, would make it possible to 
co-ordinate training within each division. 19 
The recommendation was warmly endorsed 
by General Giraud, who agreed that it 
would provide better instruction. Pursuant 
to an order dated 25 August, the French 
General Staff immediately established divi- 
sional technical schools, one for each of the 
divisions to be rearmed. Each school had 
the benefit of the collaboration of all the 
U.S. instructors assigned to the technical in- 
struction of its division. It trained simul- 



Memo, Kingman for Spalding, 9 Aug 43, JRC 
353/002 Training Fr Army Units (1943). 



taneously instructors for the division directly 
concerned as well as instructors for the divi- 
sion of the same type next to be rearmed. 20 
The system proved highly successful and 
made it possible for U.S. assistance to reach 
maximum efficiency. 

As those divisions that by then had re- 
ceived their equipment in French Morocco 
and eastern Algeria were being moved to 
the general vicinity of Oran in order to 
utilize areas better suited for training, Gen- 
eral Kingman, his French deputy, Lt. Col. 
Andre L'Huillier, and staff, moved to Oran. 
Once there, FTS was placed under the con- 

20 Ltr, Giraud To All Concerned, 25 Aug 43, 
JRC 353/002 Training Fr Army Units (1943). 



234 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



trol of the JRC and instructed by the latter 
to prepare to conduct a series of inspection 
tours. 

Meanwhile, a number of small problems 
had come up in connection with training. 
Most important had been the establishment 
of a program in the use of radar equipment. 
The CCS, on 13 May, had approved the 
release of such equipment to the French and 
the disclosure to them, "where cooperation 
was necessary," of information on any radar 
equipment in operational use, but none on 
equipment in research or developmental 
stages. 21 Meeting on 11 June, the Com- 
bined Signal Board, AFHQ, appointed a 
subcommittee to study and present a defi- 
nite training plan for the consideration of 
the board. 22 On the basis of the plan sub- 
sequently recommended by the subcommit- 
tee, some twenty French officers were sent 
to the United States in July to receive radar 
instruction. 

By the end of August the various train- 
ing programs instituted in the United States 
for French personnel were well under way. 
Training of pilots at the rate of 1 00 month- 
ly had begun in June under the direction 
of Southeast Training Command. A plan 
had been approved but was not yet in 
operation for the training of 200 Air Force 
mechanics at Army Air Forces Technical 
Training Command installations. At Fort 
Benning, Georgia, some 200 liaison officers 
were taking a course in infantry weapons 
and minor tactics. At Camp Hood, Texas, 
a number of officers were being given tank 
and antitank training. Other officers were 
attending the Quartermaster School at 
Camp Lee, Virginia. A battalion of 2,000 
men from Martinique was undergoing in- 

21 Msg, CCS to Eisenhower, 13 May 43, FAN 97. 

25 Min, CSB AFHQ 15th Mtg, 1 1 Jun 43, AFHQ 
0100/4 SACS 337 (SGS) Conf, Military, Naval, 
and Other, 



fantry training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. 
Plans were under consideration for the 
training of other officers at artillery, ar- 
mored force, antiaircraft, and engineer 
schools in the United States. The necessary 
co-ordination for the assignment of students 
to these various schools and centers was 
effected by the French members of FTS. 
One drawback in the implementation of 
some of these programs was the fact that a 
number of officers sent to the United States 
were not proficient enough in English and, 
as a result, were having difficulty in absorb- 
ing the instruction offered. 23 

Beginning in September and continuing 
throughout the fall and winter of 1943 and 
the spring of 1944. FTS, at the request of 
the JRC, inspected the divisions being re- 
equipped. Inspections were conducted by 
General Kingman assisted by mixed teams 
organized by him for the purpose, each 
team consisting of U.S. members of FTS 
reinforced, one for one, by French tech- 
nical officer counterparts. These inspec- 
tions, it must be emphasized, were not 
showdown inspections as official memoran- 
dums seemed often to imply. They were 
primarily designed to determine the status 
of technical training of the inspected units. 
Only indirectly did they help to complete 
the action of the JRC whose responsibility 
it was to make sure that the units were fully 
activated and fully equipped. After each 
inspection, General Kingman prepared a 
detailed report which he forwarded to the 
JRC. 24 

To expedite the training of service units, 

23 Memo, G-2 MIS WD for ACofS OPD, 28 
Aug 43, OPD 226.2 France, Sec 1 ; Interv with Lt 
Claude Tiers, Jul 50; Msg 6934, Marshall to 
FREEDOM, 12 Jan 44, JRC Cable Log. 

n Memo, Spalding for Kingman, 15 Aug 43, JRC 
333/002 Inspections by Gen Kingman; Intervs 
with Kingman, Jul 50, L'Huillier, Sep 50, and 
Tiers, Jul 50. 



LIAISON, LANGUAGE, AND TRAINING PROBLEMS 



235 



especially those designated for the support 
of the expeditionary forces, the French Gen- 
eral Staff and the JRC arranged, in early 
September 1943, to place a number of such 
units side by side with similar U.S. service 
units to permit their working together. At 
the end of the same month NATOUSA 
directed that five divisions be given am- 
phibious training at the Fifth Army In- 
vasion Training Center located at Port-aux- 
Poules, near Oran, with the understanding 
that the French themselves would take over 
most of the instruction duties as soon as 
practicable. 25 

By October, General Kingman was able 
to report that the technical training of the 
French had reached a satisfactory level. He 
pointed out that more progress could have 
been achieved but for shortages of spare 
parts, cleaning and preserving materials, 
and the frequent lack of adequate officer 
supervision. To increase the efficiency of 
the program, he recommended the following 
measures: the immediate activation of all 
French nondivisional units, at reduced 
strength owing to personnel limitations, and 
the prompt attachment of the cadres thus 
assembled to appropriate U.S. service units 
for training. The French authorities had 
already been approached on the matter. 
They were urged to adopt the plan forth- 
with. 26 

All together, seven divisions were under- 
going instruction from U.S. personnel, with 
one more (the 1st DMI) to be added 
shortly. Moreover, some 720 officers and 
3,500 enlisted men from smaller units were 

" Memo, Leyer for JRC, 8 Sep 43, JRC 370/003 
Employment of Sv Units ; Memo, CG NATOUSA 
for Comdr U.S. Naval Forces North African Waters, 
24 Sep 43, JRC 353/002 Training Fr Army Unit? 
(1943). 

Memo, Kingman for JRC, 6 Oct 43, JRC 
353/002 Training Fr Army Units (1943). 



receiving or about to receive individual 
training. To expand its program, FTS 
needed more personnel. Although addi- 
tional instructors were due to arrive shortly 
from the United States, General Kingman 
recommended that the training personnel 
of his section be increased still further. 27 

Reviewing the progress in instruction of 
units designated for service in Italy, Gen- 
eral Carpentier, Chief of Staff, CEF, voiced 
the belief that the technical preparation and 
group instruction of the units concerned 
appeared generally satisfactory, a situation 
which, he underlined, had been made pos- 
sible by the assistance of U.S. authorities. 
He warned, however, that in some instances, 
training was being hindered or even made 
impossible by lack of equipment, such as 
training ammunition, gasoline, mine de- 
tectors, and chemical warfare materiel. 28 

By the end of October training of service 
units still lagged behind schedule. The 
French had not fully taken advantage of the 
opportunities offered by AFHQ, such as 
placing the units alongside similar U.S. or- 
ganizations. Meeting with a French Gen- 
eral Staff representative on 30 October, Lt. 
Col. John C. Knox, the FTS liaison officer 
with the JRC, pointed out that "American 
Service Chiefs would have a better feeling 
in the matter if the constant pressing and 
needling for training of services, whether 
units, cadres or nuclei of future organiza- 
tions, originated from the French High 
Command." He then emphasized that 
American officials were only too ready to 
examine any reasonable French counterpro- 
posals on the matter. 29 

" Memo, Kingman for CG NATOUSA, 12 Oct 
43, in same file. 

"Memo, Carpentier for Leyer, 21 Oct 43, in 
same file. 

" Memo, Knox for Kingman, 30 Oct 43, in same 
file. 



236 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



By November 1943 the French had or- 
ganized two types of training centers of 
their own. At the recruit training center 
(centre d'instruction) , only basic training 
was given, lasting approximately three 
months. Recruits were then sent to the 
nearest replacement training center (centre 
d'organisation) . The replacement training 
centers prepared replacement battalions to 
be fed into the regiments of the expedi- 
tionary forces. Obviously, instruction in 
these centers could not go beyond training 
of the battalion as a unit, and seldom went 
farther than that of the company. All to- 
gether, the French organized some forty 
replacement training centers, as well as a 
number of miscellaneous replacement de- 
pots. They also opened several schools, in- 
cluding one military preparatory school for 
sons of officers (known as the Prytanee), 
one officers' training school for sons of titled 
natives, one officer candidate school for 
French personnel, and a General Staff 
School. 3 " Whenever the French military 
authorities so requested, General Kingman 
and members of his staff visited the training 
centers and schools. At the end of these 
visits, if individual school commanders de- 
sired, General Kingman placed available 
American officers at their disposal. In this 
manner complete co-ordination was ef- 
fected between training conducted by the 
French themselves and instruction carried 
out under the FTS program. 

Simultaneously, an increasing number of 
schools or courses of instruction had been 
or were being opened by the Americans to 
French personnel. Parachutists were being 
trained at the Airborne Training Center 
run by Fifth Army. At L' Arba ( Algeria ) , 

m Memo for Red, JRC, 25 Nov 43, and Office 
Memo 4, JRC, 26 Nov 43, JRC 320/004 Orgn of 
Fr Army. 



Air Force personnel were being instructed in 
the installation, operation, and mainte- 
nance of equipment and facilities required 
for fighter control and fighter defense. At 
Meknes (French Morocco), the Americans 
had established a school to train ordnance 
personnel. Numerous courses in chemical 
warfare were being offered. Generally the 
students attending these various courses 
were reported to be capable, industrious, 
and eager to learn. 31 

Throughout January, February, and 
March 1944, the reports which General 
Kingman submitted to the JRC at the end 
of inspections of French divisions had in 
common one major feature: training was 
still being impeded by important shortages. 32 
The lack of training ammunition being par- 
ticularly acute, the theater requested and 
obtained from the War Department, in 
early January, the shipment of 4,275,000 
rounds of .22-caliber long ammunition for 
the 7,000-odd rifles and 900 machine guns 
of that caliber in the possession of the 
French. 33 Other much needed items, such 
as spare parts, cleaning materials, and train- 
ing manuals in French, were obtained 
either from French stocks at the urging of 
the JRC or through requisitions submitted 
by the JRC to the War Department. 

In early March AFHQ requested the 
French High Command to forward, each 
month, a report on the state of training of 
units likely to be employed at a later date as 
part of an Allied force. Such information 
would enable the Supreme Allied Com- 
mander to know what units would be avail- 

31 JRC 353/002 Training Fr Army Units ( 1943) . 

32 Rpts, Kingman to Loomis, 26 Jan, 23 Feb, 1 
Mar, 7 Mar, and 30 Mar 44, JRC 333/002 In- 
spections by Gen Kingman. 

M Memo, Loomis for G-4 NATOUSA, 6 Jan 44, 
and Msg 7280, Somervell to Eisenhower, 15 Jan 
44, JRC 471/002 Ammunition for Training. 



LIAISON, LANGUAGE, AND TRAINING PROBLEMS 



237 



able for employment. 34 By the end of the 
month General Kingman and his mixed 
teams had inspected all major units. Gen- 
eral Leyer expressed to General Loomis his 
deep appreciation of the assistance rendered 
thus far by FTS and requested that the sec- 
tion inspect other organizations such as 
corps and army supporting units, units then 
in combat, and training centers. 35 General 
Kingman immediately arranged for the 
necessary inspections. 

French Air Force training schools, mean- 
while, were receiving assistance from 
American and British air commanders. A 
close inspection of these schools by General 
Eaker in April revealed that they were doing 
excellent work. To assist them further, 
Eaker requested and obtained the assign- 
ment in May, June, and July of additional 
training planes and equipment. 36 

In late April General Kingman accom- 
panied by his French deputy, Colonel 
L'Huillier, visited the French Expedition- 
ary Corps in Italy to determine on the spot 
how the units were doing and what further 
assistance they needed. By agreement with 
their commanders, he detached to the di- 
visions a number of single instructors or 
teams no longer required for the training 
program in North Africa. The teams, at 
reduced strength, usually accompanied the 
divisions in combat, at least during the early 
phase of their engagement in operations. 
The valuable information which General 
Kingman collected during his visit enabled 
him, upon his return to North Africa, to 
improve further the training of the units 
still in that area. 37 



"Ltr, Gammell to Devinck, 8 Mar 44, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Corres. 

55 Ltr, Leyer to Loomis, 3 Apr 44, JRC 353/002 
Trainin g Fr Ar my Units (1944). 

* See l p. 21 q above. 

" Interv with Kingman, Jul 50. 



In May and June, at the request of the 
French General Staff, practically all French 
training establishments were inspected by 
FTS. Meanwhile, more personnel were 
being detailed for short periods of instruc- 
tion to American training schools located in 
the United States or in the theater, such as 
the Floating Bailey Bridge School which in 
June was transferred to French control. 
Eight officers were attending a special course 
in sound ranging for artillery at Fort Sill. 38 
A tire repair company consisting of approxi- 
mately 200 officers and enlisted men from 
Martinique was completing its training in 
ordnance schools in the United States. 39 

Training, although generally satisfactory, 
was lagging in some fields. Instruction in 
signal communications at regiment level 
was rendered ineffective by lack of co-ordi- 
nation. To effect the unification of the 
various programs, General Leyer, on 14 
June, ordered a centralization of all train- 
ing facilities. 40 With respect to chemical 
warfare, the program had completely 
bogged down. This was due to lack of in- 
terest on the part of the French military au- 
thorities who assumed that chemicals would 
not be used. An inspection tour conducted 
between 12 May and 28 June revealed that 
practically no chemical warfare instruction 
was given in the replacement training 
centers. 41 

An important development took place in 
mid-May with the establishment in Italy of 
three training centers to serve the CEF. 
These centers, one Algerian-Tunisian, one 

"Msg W-49831, Maj Gen James A. Ulio to 
Devers, 13 Jun 44, JRC Cable Log. 

" Msg W-45342, Ulio to Devers, 3 Jun 44, JRC 
Cable Log. 

40 Instruction 835 EMGG/3-T, Leyer, 14 Jun 44, 
JRC 353/002 Training Fr Army Units (1944). 

"Memos, CWS for G-3 Training Sec AFHQ, 
22 Apr 44, and CWS for Kingman, 4 Jul 44, in 
same file. 



238 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



Moroccan, and one Colonial, were consti- 
tuted by utilizing the personnel from the 
former divisional technical schools, now dis- 
continued, of the divisions engaged in Italy. 
Their function was threefold: to supply 
cadres and enlisted personnel to the CEF by 
using replacements coming from North 
Africa and men released from hospitals in 
Italy; to take charge of replacements com- 
ing from rear areas and medical patients re- 
leased from forward areas until such time 
as they were reassigned to a unit of the 
CEF; finally, to train personnel designated 
for combat units. 42 

With an expeditionary force of nearly 
five divisions and corps troops engaged in 
operations, one of the main concerns of the 
French military authorities was to recruit 
and train, in North Africa, sufficient per- 
sonnel replacements. To assist them in this 
task, and to effect a saving in the amount of 
training equipment required, General Dev- 
ers suggested, in late June, that a U.S. 
camp, preferably situated near Oran and 
with a capacity of 8,000 to 10,000 men, be 
turned over to the French complete with 
housing and utilities. General Larkin hav- 
ing approved the proposal, the American 
camp located at Chanzy was officially trans- 
ferred to the French on 30 June. 43 

By this time training activities were being 
directed more and more toward the ready- 
ing of the units designated for Anvil. On 
7 July, as these units passed under the con- 
trol of Force 163, General Patch, Com- 
manding General, U.S. Seventh Army, who 
was to command them in the initial phase 
of the operation, assumed the general direc- 
tion of their training. During the follow- 



12 Admin Memo 5997 EMGG/1, Leyer, 9 Jun 
44, in same file. 

"Msgs F-64566, Devers ta-Larkin, 26 Jun 44, 
and LX-29481, Larkin to CG MBS, 30 Jun 44, 
JRC Cable Log. 



ing three weeks Seventh Army inspected the 
units to determine their state of readiness. 

On 14 July the War Department in- 
formed General Wilson that the CCS had 
authorized the issue of a minimum amount 
of equipment to French replacement cen- 
ters to be used solely for instructing replace- 
ments for the expeditionary forces. 44 In 
notifying the French of this action, General 
Wilson requested them to give assurances 
that the housekeeping and training equip- 
ment thus authorized would be used for the 
purpose for which it was intended. He also 
urged them to take steps to put into effect, 
immediately after the landing in France, a 
sound replacement program to sustain the 
expeditionary forces in combat. 45 The 
French had already considered the matter 
as evidenced by their request, submitted 
only a few days before, that the permanent 
cadres of the three infantry training centers 
then operating in Italy and the Armored 
Force Training Center still in North Africa 
be made officially part of the Anvil troop 
list. 46 

On 4 August, with the launching of An- 
vil only ten days away, Headquarters, Sev- 
enth Army, reported to General Wilson on 
the status of training of the French partici- 
pating units. Inspections had revealed in- 
sufficient technical training owing to short- 
ages of equipment. The remaining basic 
problem, therefore, was to make sure that 
such shortages would be filled in time to per- 
mit training before the units were engaged 
in operations. The report then recom- 
mended that Seventh Army be relieved of 

" Msg WX-64781, AGWAR to Devers, 14 Jul 
44, ABC 091.711 France (6 Oct 43), Sec 2-A. 

^Ltr, Gammell (for Wilson) to Bethouart, 30 
Jul 44, AFHQ 0100/4 SACS Red Sec, Fr Matters, 
Vol. IV, Jan-Jul 44. 

"'Ltr, Bethouart to Wilson, 26 Jul 44, JRC 
400.1/009 Sup of Forces Designated for Combat. 



LIAISON, LANGUAGE, AND TRAINING PROBLEMS 



239 



all further responsibility in connection with 
inspections of French units still in North 
Africa. 47 The question was examined at a 
conference on 8 August between General 
Noce, G-3, AFHQ, and General Loomis. 
The two conferees agreed to stand fast on 
the established policy under which Seventh 
Army was responsible for determining, by 
means of inspections, the condition of train- 
ing of the French Anvil units, and FTS for 
providing the necessary assistance. 4 * 

As Anvil was launched, on 15 August, 
training operations were going ahead at an 
increased tempo. In the case of service 
units instruction still lagged considerably 
behind schedule. Unable to form all the 
units in North Africa, the French military 
authorities were already contemplating their 
activation from personnel expected to be- 
come available in France. As the inspec- 
tion tour conducted by FTS was coming to 
an end, General Leyer, with an eye on the 
future, seized the opportunity to express his 
gratitude for the valuable assistance Gen- 
eral Kingman and his section had been ren- 
dering for several months, 49 

On 10 September General Patch 
broached the question of the responsibility 
for the training of French replacements. 
He pointed out to General Wilson that the 
supervision of this training was not consid- 
ered the proper function of Seventh Army 
as personnel was not available and in any 
case such control would be "resented" by 
the French. He recommended that the re- 
sponsibility be turned over to the French 
themselves with some measure of supervision 
effected by General Kingman's section. 

" Memo, CG Seventh Army for SACMED, 4 
Am; 44, AFHQ AG 400-1 (Fr) Sups. 

"Memo, Foster for G-3 (Orgn), 8 Aug 44, 
AFHQ 0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Equip. 

"Memo, Leyer for Loomis, 27 Aug 44, JRG 
320/005 Replacement Troops. 



General Wilson approved the recommenda- 
tion and advised the French that, thereafter, 
they were fully responsible for carrying out 
the training of replacements with the as- 
sistance of FTS. Three training centers 
having already moved with their equipment 
to southern France in late September, and 
the fourth being about to follow, personnel 
from FTS was dispatched to the Continent 
to assist them in their work. A forward 
echelon of FTS began operating at Delta 
Base Section in Marseille on 12 October. 
The rear echelon continued to function at 
MBS until about 15 November when all re- 
maining FTS activities were transferred to 
France. 50 

On 22 October NATOUSA learned with 
considerable surprise that SHAEF was con- 
templating recruiting French personnel in 
France and moving them to North Africa 
to be equipped and trained as replace- 
ments for the 1st French Army. NA- 
TOUSA objected that it could not un- 
dertake such a commitment inasmuch as 
instructors, facilities, and equipment would 
not be available, and pointed out that plans 
had been made for the resumption, in con- 
tinental France, of all training activities. 
Such activities, in fact, were already well 
under way. 

The training of French troops in North 
Africa under American guidance was now 
over. Like the rearmament operations, it 
had been effected on the basis of a program 
established piecemeal as the situation de- 
manded. On the whole it had been most 
effective. Collaboration between the 
French and the Americans had been par- 

r * Ltr, Gammell to Bethouart, 20 Sep 44, AFHQ 
0100/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Fr Corres; Msgs CP- 
13330, Patch to Wilson, 10 Sep 44, FX-24103, 
SACMED to Seventh Army, 12 Sep 44, JRC/235, 
CG NATOUSA to G-3 AFHQ, 20 Sep 44, JRC 
Cable Log. 



240 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



MAJ. GEN. ALEXANDER M. PATCH, Commanding General, U.S. Seventh Army, 
inspecting men of the French Forces of the Interior, August 1944. 



ticularly fruitful. French cadres and per- 
sonnel had almost without exception ap- 
peared to be genuinely eager to receive the 
assistance of their American comrades of 
FTS. Relations with French commanders 
had been most cordial. 51 All signs now 



pointed to continued mutual respect and un- 
derstanding during the next phase of re- 
armament and training activities about to 
open in continental France. 

sl Intervs with Kingman, Jul 50, Tiers, Jul 50, 
and L'Huillier, Sep 50. 



CHAPTER XV 

Controversy Over Substitute Weapons 



The Anfa Agreement had stipulated that 
the French were to receive equipment 
made up of the most modern materiel. 
When, in the course of the ensuing months, 
AFHQ officials undertook to effect certain 
substitutions, a serious controversy arose be- 
tween French and AFHQ staffs concerning 
the legitimacy and desirability of such a 
course of action. The French, whose atti- 
tude in the matter was only human, tended 
to consider substitutions as meaning inferior 
equipment and, when applied to weapons, 
a lowering of fire power. As late as May 
1 944 they warned that the substitutions im- 
posed on them were "adversely affecting 
combat efficiency." 1 

In cases where American industrial pro- 
duction was insufficient to fill the needs of 
both French and U.S. troops, the French 
resigned themselves, although reluctantly, 
to receiving substitutes. On the other hand, 
they reacted strongly when, in the fall of 
1943, AFHQ proposed that certain equip- 
ment items no longer standard but still serv- 
iceable be assigned, because of their avail- 
ability in theater stocks, against French 
rearmament requirements in lieu of the 
standard items. The proposal was made at 
a time when large stocks had become excess 
owing to the departure for the United King- 
dom of a number of U.S. troops. The 

1 Ltr, de Saint-Didier to Marshall, 6 May 44, 
OPD 400 France, Sec IV; Ltr, Marshall to de 
Saint-Didier, 24 May 44, OCS A-48-1 1 France 
091, Sec I. 



Munitions Assignments Board had ruled 
that some of these stocks would be utilized 
toward the partial implementation of the 
French program. The measure, which 
General Larkin, Commanding General, 
SOS, NATOUSA, had strongly urged, 
was primarily intended to economize ship- 
ping. 

As the French were showing signs that 
they would not readily agree to the provision 
of substitutes for standard issue items, Gen- 
eral Loomis sought from the War Depart- 
ment a definite expression of policy. Select- 
ing one standard ordnance item as a test 
case, the chairman of the JRC, on 4 No- 
vember, requested Washington officials to 
indicate whether or not they would au- 
thorize the issue to the French of a weapon 
then available in theater stocks as a sub- 
stitute for the standard item concerned. 2 
Lt. Gen. Wilhelm D. Styer, Chief of Staff, 
Army Service Forces, replied that since the 
phrase "equipment of the most modern 
kind" was interpreted by the War Depart- 
ment as meaning "equipment that had been 
standard issue in the current war," the sub- 
stitution proposed was authorized. This 
and similar substitutions, explained General 
Styer, could be effected in the case of equip- 
ment either still to be assigned from the 
United States or already assigned but as yet 
unshipped. 3 

2 Msg W-4267, Loomis to AGWAR, 4 Nov 43, 
JRC 400.1/007 Substituting From Theater Stocks. 

'Msg 2627, Styer to Eisenhower, 16 Nov 43, in 
same file. 



242 



REARMING THE FRENCH 




TANK DESTROYER FOR THE FRENCH. This 3-in. gun motor carnage MIO bears 
the marking of red, white, and blue stripes stenciled on all equipment for the French. 



Guided by this clarification, General 
Larkin prepared a report of all equipment 
in the theater suitable for transfer under the 
rearmament program. In the case of items 
not currently standard for U.S. troops, the 
report included recommendations as to the 
standard items they might replace. 4 On the 
basis of these recommendations, substitu- 
tions considered desirable by AFHQ were 
suggested to the War Department, which, 
in turn, invariably gave its approval. Most 
important among substitutions effected 
either as a result of production shortages or 
because of surplus stocks in the theater were 

' Memo, Hq NATOUSA for CG SOS, 22 Nov 
43, in same file. 



certain types of artillery guns, tanks, and 
infantry weapons. 

Artillery 

The test case selected by General Loomis 
concerned a proposal to substitute 75-mm. 
gun motor carriages M3 for the 3-inch MIO 
guns authorized under the rearmament pro- 
gram for three French tank destroyer bat- 
talions. The M3 guns were readily avail- 
able in theater stocks, whereas the MIO's 
were obtainable only by shipment from the 
United States. 

Apprised of the proposed substitution 
some weeks before, the French had already 



CONTROVERSY OVER SUBSTITUTE WEAPONS 



243 



ruled it out as unacceptable "in view of the 
inferior quality of the M3 gun." In the 
face of their strong opposition, the various 
AFHQ sections concerned debated for sev- 
eral months on the advisability of carrying 
out the proposal. In March 1944, still 
without information as to the intentions of 
AFHQ regarding the matter, the French 
asked that a re-examination of the question 
be undertaken and a decision reached forth- 
with. Intervening personally in the matter, 
General Giraud, in a letter to General Wil- 
son, Supreme Allied Commander in the 
Mediterranean, restated the French posi- 
tion, namely, that the proposed substitution 
was not acceptable "as much because of the 
inferior quality of the M3 as because of the 
complications resulting from the disparity 
of the materiel placed in the hands of French 
units." 5 

Although AFHQ officials regarded the 
M3 gun as only slightly inferior in combat 
efficiency to the M10 and, therefore, quite 
acceptable as a modern weapon, they finally 
gave in to General Giraud's plea, for they 
had just learned that M10 guns would soon 
be available in sufficient quantity to take 
care of both French and American needs. 
After five months of debate, French tenacity 
and American production had settled the 
case. By 13 May, SOS, NATOUSA, had 
delivered all 115 M10 guns authorized for 
the three tank destroyer battalions. 6 

In another instance, a substitution was 
effected over French objection. On 18 
March 1944 General Leyer informed the 
JRC that he could not agree to the replace- 

5 Memos, Leyer for Loomis, 28 Oct 43, and Reg- 
nault for Loomis, 13 Mar 44, and Ltr, Giraud to 
Wilson, 22 Mar 44, JRC 470/002 Substituting 75- 
mm. for TD's. 

° Ltrs, Devers to Giraud, 30 Mar, 5 Apr 44, and 
Memos, Loomis for Leyer, 10 Apr, 13 May 44, 
JRC 470/002. 



ment of eight 75-mm. howitzer motor car- 
riages M8 by eight 75-mm. howitzer motor 
carriages T30 as then proposed by AFHQ 
for the last of the ten armored reconnais- 
sance battalions to be re-equipped under the 
program. The substitution had just been 
authorized by the War Department. Gen- 
eral Leyer warned that the replacement 
would only result in decreasing the combat 
efficiency of the unit involved. General 
Loomis replied that AFHQ regarded the 
T30 as a satisfactory substitute for the M8 
and that, in view of the necessity of saving 
critical shipping space, it did not consider it 
advisable to recommend that the War De- 
partment change its decision. 7 

Once again General Giraud intervened 
personally in the controversy. He pressed 
General Wilson for a reversal of the posi- 
tion taken by AFHQ. In addition to low- 
ering the effectiveness of the unit involved, 
he declared, the proposed substitution 
would have the serious disadvantage of 
multiplying needlessly the types of materiel 
in the hands of the reconnaissance battal- 
ions. 8 This last point was a telling one in 
the eyes of the French who were already 
plagued with serious maintenance and sup- 
ply problems. However, their efforts to 
bring about a reversal of the decision proved 
futile. On 20 April the theater commander 
closed the issue by informing General 
Bethouart, then Chief of Staff of National 
Defense, that the French request was dis- 
approved. He explained that the T30 was 
regarded as a "strictly modern weapon . . . 
superior, in some respects, to the M8." 
Since, moreover, the T30 was available in 

' Msg 1039, AGWAR to NATOUSA, 29 Feb 44, 
JRC 400.1/007 Excess Stocks (Mar 44) ; Ltr, Leyer 
to Loomis, 18 Mar 44, JRC 472/003 Self-propelled 
Artillery ; Memo, Loomis for Leyer, 27 Mar 44, JRC 
472/003. 

8 Ltr, Giraud to Wilson, 5 Apr 44, JRC 472/003. 



244 



REARMING THE FRENCH 




FRENCH TANK CREW WITH U.S. LIGHT TANK M5, one of the vehicles issued 
for training purposes, July 1943. 



North Africa in ample quantity, the theater 
considered it inadvisable to add to the ship- 
ping burden by ordering from the United 
States a large tonnage of M8 carriages. 9 

Tanks 

During the Tunisian campaign the Brit- 
ish First Army had turned over to the 
French as an emergency measure sixty 
surplus Valentine tanks. 10 These vehicles, 
the first to be issued to the North African 
forces, subsequently were transferred by 
the French High Command to Sovereignty 

9 Memo, Theater Comdr for Bethouart, 20 Apr 
44, in same file. 

10 Background material for this section is located 
in JRC 470/003 Tanks and Tank Transporters. 



troops charged with the defense of the 
territory. In April 1943, as rearmament 
operations got under way, the French be- 
gan receiving American tanks of the same 
models as those then currently issued U.S. 
troops — M4A2 and M4A4 medium, and 
M3A3 light tanks. In the course of the 
following months, while U.S. forces in 
the theater were drawing the newer M5A1 
light tank, the French continued to receive 
the M3A3. 11 The M3A3 and M5A1 were 
quite similar in design. Although the 
M5A1 provided more armor protection, 
both had practically the same turret, arma- 
ment, and hull. The principal difference 

11 Msg 6162, Somervell to Eisenhower, 27 Aug 
43, in same file. 



CONTROVERSY OVER SUBSTITUTE WEAPONS 



245 



between them was in their engines and 
power trains. Yet operation and mainte- 
nance were sufficiently different to require 
special training." Anticipating that the 
French would eventually be issued M5Al's, 
the Americans gave them a few of these ve- 
hicles for training purposes. Later, as pro- 
duction of the M5A1 increased, the War 
Department authorized its issue to the 
French not in replacement of, but in addi- 
tion to, the M3A3 toward the fulfillment of 
the over-all light tank requirements of the 
rearmament program. As a result the 
French received tanks of both designs and, 
incidentally, in approximately the same pro- 
portion. 

By June 1944 the French had been is- 
sued 368 M4A2 and 268 M4A4 medium 
tanks, and 273 M3A3 and 230 M5A1 light 
tanks, or a total of 1 , 1 39 vehicles. 13 AFHQ 
regarded this number as sufficient, not only 
to equip the units on the approved troop 
list (3 armored divisions, 5 infantry divi- 
sion reconnaissance battalions, and 2 non- 
divisional reconnaissance battalions), but in 
addition to provide for combat replace- 
ments. In fact some 200 vehicles were 
considered excess. A number of these were 
currently being used for training replace- 
ment personnel. Others were still in the 
hands of the 3d Armored Division, an or- 
ganization in nucleus only which the French 
High Command still hoped to raise to the 
status of a fourth armored division. To 
constitute an adequate replacement reserve 
for the three authorized divisions, the 
French in August were requested to release 
approximately 120 vehicles to Mediter- 
ranean Base Section. 14 It was not until 

12 Memo, Maj Conrad L. Christensen for Reg- 
nault, 21 Aug 43, in same file. 

13 Ltr, Leyer to Loomis, 29 Jul 44, in same file. 

" Memos, Loomis for Leyer, 5, 9 Aug 44, and 
Msg JRC-73, Loomis to AGWAR, 8 Aug 44, in 
same file. 



mid-October, after considerable prodding 
on the part of AFHQ officials, that the 
French completed the release of all 120 
vehicles. The tanks in the hands of the 
3d DB had by then all been withdrawn 
for this purpose. 

The French had distributed tanks as the 
vehicles themselves had become available; 
as a result, units were not equipped in a 
uniform manner. The 2d DB enjoyed 
complete homogeneity of materiel as it 
had been issued tanks from the earliest 
shipments, all M3A3's, and M4A2's. In 
the case of the 1st DB and 5th DB, on the 
other hand, uniformity had been achieved 
within individual component units, but not 
within the divisions as a whole. AFHQ 
had strongly urged the French military 
authorities to regroup equipment within 
the two organizations. Judging that such 
a step would involve a substantial move- 
ment of materiel, an additional period of 
training for crews, and a readaptation of 
radio equipment, the French chose not to 
modify the existing distribution. In their 
opinion, the advantages offered by a re- 
grouping, such as the simplification of spare 
parts and maintenance problems, would not 
offset the considerable difficulties in- 
volved. 13 

Thus, because of the tank substitution 
imposed on them, when the 1st and 5th 
Armored Divisions landed in southern 
France they were equipped with light vehi- 
cles which differed in type from one com- 
ponent unit to another. 16 Yet there is no 
evidence to indicate that the combat effi- 
ciency of these organizations was in any 
way jeopardized. Nor does it appear that 
units which received no M5's, such as the 

15 Memos, Leyer for Loomis, 16 Apr, 29 Jul 44, 
in same file. 

10 See ibid., for exact distribution of tanks in the 
hands of all French armored units. 



246 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



2d DB and four reconnaissance battalions, 
were put to a disadvantage for lack of such 
vehicles. 17 It must be noted that tanks is- 
sued later in the campaign to French ar- 
mored units included vehicles of newer de- 
signs such as were furnished to U.S. units. 

Small Infantry Weapons 

It was with respect to small infantry 
weapons, such as rifles, carbines, and auto- 
matic arms, that the question of the use of 
substitutes became an issue of particular 
seriousness. 18 The French who, by tradi- 
tion, attached the utmost importance to in- 
fantry action were eager to ensure that their 
infantry units would be provided with ade- 
quate fire power. 

Rifles and Carbines 

The first small arms which the French 
obtained from Allied sources consisted, it 
will be recalled, of the 8,000 rifles assigned 
in November 1942 and delivered to them 
from the United Kingdom in mid-January 
1943. 19 These were .30-caliber M1917 
( Enfield ) rifles. At the time, French units 
engaged in Tunisia were equipped with 
small arms of all descriptions and calibers, 
particularly of French manufacture, such 
as the 8-mm. level spring loading rifle 
(Lebel), and the 8-mm. model 1912-16 
mousqueton or carbine. One unit, the 1st 
Free French Division (later renamed the 1st 
DMI), was using . 303-inch rifles of British 

17 Two of the five infantry division reconnaissance 
battalions, as well as the two nondivisional recon- 
naissance battalions {the 1st and 2d Algerian Spahis 
Regiments) were equipped with M3A3's ex- 
clusively. Ibid. 

18 This section draws upon these files: JRC 
474/001 Small Arms— Misc, JRC 474/002 .30-cal 
Rifles, JRC 474/003 Automatic Weapons, and JRC 
474/004 Spare Parts for Small Arms. 

18 See pp.[27]f28l above. 



manufacture. Meanwhile, training centers 
and Sovereignty forces charged with the de- 
fense of the territory were using, in addition 
to arms of French manufacture, some 
19,000 German rifles of the Mauser and 
Herstal models, both 7.92-mm., and a num- 
ber of Italian rifles generally in poor condi- 
tion, all of which had been collected on 
battlefields in Tunisia. In May 1943, with 
more American rifles reaching North Afri- 
can ports, French authorities turned the re- 
maining stocks of French manufacture over 
to nonprogram units (Moroccan tabors, 
Commandos, Spahis, and the like). 20 

In addition to the M1917 rifle, which 
they received throughout the year 1943, the 
French were also given large quantities of 
the Ml 903 (Springfield) , likewise .30 cali- 
ber. The continued issue to them of these 
two weapons was being made at a time when 
the Ml 903 rifles in the hands of U.S. troops 
were gradually being replaced by newer and 
more efficient arms, the .30-caliber Ml rifle 
and Ml carbine. The French who were 
not being issued these weapons feared that 
their units would be less fit than the U.S. 
troops fighting along with them. Ameri- 
can officials, on the other hand, acted on 
the principle that the M 1 rifles and carbines, 
being scarce at the time, could be made 
available only at the expense of U.S. troops. 
They felt justified, as a result, in prescribing 
acceptable substitute weapons of standard 
issue during the current war. As both the 
Ml 903 and Ml 91 7 fell in that category, 
the former being still used by U.S. troops 
and the latter by the British, the two weap- 
ons became standard issue for the North 
African program units. 

Deliveries were made at a slow and ir- 
regular pace because of the over-all short- 



20 Msg 1926, FLAMBO to 15th Army Gp, 19 Dec 
43, JRC 474/001 Small Arms— Misc. 



CONTROVERSY OVER SUBSTITUTE WEAPONS 



247 



age of rifles and in a somewhat erratic fash- 
ion as to type depending on availability in 
the United Kingdom, from where they 
were shipped to the French. As a result 
many combat units received both magazine- 
type rifles. This fact seriously increased 
spare-part and maintenance difficulties, for 
although the Enfield and Springfield used 
the same ammunition their parts were not 
interchangeable. The French would have 
preferred to equip all of their combat units 
with the M1903. This was not possible 
since the larger part of the rifles issued to 
them, approximately two thirds, consisted 
of M1917's. At any rate, they attempted, 
in the interests of economy and simplicity in 
the distribution of spare parts and main- 
tenance, to standardize the type of rifle used 
in each unit. This they were not able to 
do until January 1 944 because they had not 
been issued grenade launchers for the 
M1917 rifle and therefore had been forced 
to retain a number of M1903's in units 
equipped with the other rifle. 21 

Further aggravating maintenance prob- 
lems was the fact that a considerable propor- 
tion of the rifles (estimated by the French 
as 10 percent, especially the M1917's) 
were found to be of a low order of service- 
ability. This was not surprising for the 
weapons involved were old. In fact they 
were part of the stocks shipped by the 
United States to the British after the evacu- 
ation of Dunkerque in 1940 and had served 
the Home Guard for over two years before 
being turned over to the French. The 
latter were forced to effect repairs made 
possible only by the receipt, in July 1943, 
of a substantial allocation of spare parts 
and maintenance materials. 22 

21 Memo, Leyer for Loomis, 30 Oct 43, JRC 
474/002 .30-cal Rifles. 

22 Memos, Leyer for Loomis, 16 Jun 44, and Col 
Villaret for International Div ASF, 31 Mar 44, 



By the end of January 1944 program 
units engaged on the Italian front were 
equipped with pistols in lieu of carbines, 
and with Ml 903 and M1917 magazine 
rifles in lieu of semiautomatic rifles such as 
the Ml. The Moroccan tabors and other 
nonprogram units, on the other hand, were 
firing their French weapons, thus adding to 
the complexity of the supply problem and 
in some instances causing undue hardship 
on personnel. A U.S. adviser told of the 
losses sustained by a Moroccan goum 
when, having exhausted the ammunition 
for their French weapons, the men were 
unable to borrow any from adjoining 
units. 23 

Throughout 1943 American authorities 
in the theater had recognized the desira- 
bility of providing French infantry units 
with additional arms to compensate for the 
reduced fire power resulting from the rifle 
substitutions imposed on them. With this 
in view they took a number of steps, most 
important of which consisted in raising the 
allowance of automatic weapons per in- 
fantry regiment. 24 In addition, General 
Devers recommended, in March 1944, that 
a portion of the Ml carbines then being 
earmarked for U.S. service troops in the 
theater be diverted to French combat units. 
His proposal was approved and the MAB 
authorized the lend-lease transfer to the 
French from U.S. theater stocks of 13,000 
carbines. 25 These were to be issued to seven 
divisions at the rate of 2,000 per infantry 

JRC 474/002 .30-cal Rifles; Memo, Loomis for 
Li-yer, 28 Oct 43, JRC 474/004 Spare Parts for 
Small Arms. 

=3 Memo, Kingman for Loomis, 26 Jan 44, JRC 
333/00 2' Inspections by Gen Kingman. 

"Sec lpp. 250-511 below. 

25 Msgs W-4323, Devers to AGWAR, 5 Mar 44, 
and 1971, Somervell to Devers, 12 Mar 44, JRC 
474/002 .30-cal Rifles. 



248 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



division and 1,500 per armored division. 28 
Priority of issue was to be "above U.S. serv- 
ice troops but below U.S. combat units." 27 

It was then that the publication of a pes- 
simistic report on the fire power of the 
French infantry, drafted at the end of 
March 1944 by an ASF officer sent on an 
inspection tour in the theater, aroused con- 
siderable speculation both in Washington 
and in Algiers and forced a re-examination 
of the French rifle situation. The report 
implied that, since the French had been 
denied Ml carbines and semiautomatic 
rifles and were using magazine rifles in poor 
condition, the fire power of their infantry 
was inferior to that of the enemy and to 
that of the adjoining U.S. infantry. In 
consequence, the personnel casualty rate was 
"prohibitively high" and the functions of 
the U.S. command were "unnecessarily 
complicated." 

Subsequent investigation revealed that 
the serious implications contained in the 
ASF report were grossly exaggerated. 
G 3, AFHQ, definitely established, on the 
basis of information furnished by General 
Juin himself, that the French advances in 
Italy had been accomplished without undue 
losses. It was more likely — and the fact 
has been confirmed since the war — that 
whatever difficulties French infantry units 
were, and would later be, experiencing with 
regard to rifles were not the result of infer- 
ior equipment but rather of diversity of 
equipment. Standardization could have 
been achieved only by providing all the 
units concerned with M 1 rifles and carbines. 



x Instead of 6,500 per infantry division and 
6,000 per armored division according to the U.S. 
tables of organization. Memo, Artamonoff for 
AGofS G-4 AFHQ, 9 Jul 43, JRC 474/003 Auto- 
matic Weapons. 

27 Msg 64439, Devers to Larkin, 14 Mar 44, JRC 
474/002 .30-cal Rifles. 



Since the rate of production of these weap- 
ons made this impossible, AFHQ decided 
not to pursue the matter any further." 8 

In July 1944, answering a query from 
the War Department, General Loomis re- 
viewed the French rifle situation as it stood 
on the eve of Anvil. He estimated that the 
French had received a total of approxi- 
mately 215,000 rifles including 167,000 
M1917's, 47,000 M1903's, 740 Mi's, and 
13,400 Ml carbines. Of the total, 4,000 
rifles and carbines had gone to the French 
Air Force, and all the Ml rifles to the 1st 
Parachute Regiment (1st RCP). The 
over-all figure was considered adequate to 
cover the needs of the expeditionary forces 
as well as those of replacements and train- 
ing centers. To ensure adequacy of fire 
power during the subsequent months, Gen- 
eral Loomis obtained from the War Depart- 
ment the additional supply of 8,000 Ml 
carbines monthly for the last five months of 
1944. This measure was considered all the 
more necessary since the United Kingdom 
had just requested that the British obligation 
to furnish an additional 20,000 Ml 91 7 rifles 
be canceled. The carbines, once assigned, 
were shipped to Coastal Base Section 
in Marseille for issue as maintenance to 
French units operating with U.S. forces. 29 

Subsequent efforts by the French to ob- 
tain additional Ml carbines in exchange 
for M1917 rifles proved unsuccessful. 

28 Memo, Col Villaret for ACofS G-3 WD, 
31 Mar 44, JRC 474/002 .30-cal. Rifles. Another 
report by the same officer concerning Franco-Amer- 
ican relations also was regarded as largely un- 
founded. See |p, 1M| above. 

Memo, Noce for JRC, 22 May 44, JRC 474/002 
.30-cal Rifles; Interv with Brig Gen Jean Piatte, 
former CO 5th Moroccan Tirailleurs Regt, Sep 51. 

39 Memo, Loomis for Leyer, 20 Jul 44, Msgs JRC/ 
72, Loomis to AGWAR, 7 Aug 44, and W-51930, 
Somervell to Devers, 17 Jun 44, and Memo, Loomis 
for CofS Fr Ground Forces, 18 Sep 44, JRC 474/002 
.30-cal. Rifles. 



CONTROVERSY OVER SUBSTITUTE WEAPONS 



249 



NATOUSA maintained that French re- 
quests to exchange major substitute items 
of ordnance equipment previously allo- 
cated to them by the War Department for 
standard equipment available in U.S. 
stocks could be approved only when the 
items involved were "clearly surplus" to the 
needs of U.S. troops in the theater. No 
such surplus stocks existed in the case of the 
Ml carbine. 30 

The rifle issue was raised again in late 
August 1944 in connection with battle-loss 
replacements for the troops engaged in 
Anvil. As U.S. stocks of M1917's were 
rapidly becoming negligible, it was urgent 
to determine some policy in anticipation of 
French demands for replacement rifles. 
NATOUSA ruled, as it had a month earlier, 
that Ml 903 rifles would be used as battle- 
loss replacements for either Ml 903 or 
Ml 91 7 rifles, but that there would be no 
wholesale exchange of Ml 903 with M1917 
rifles. 31 

The last discussion concerning rifles took 
place in mid-September. French military 
authorities having estimated their over-all 
requirements at 17,500 rifles and carbines 
more than the figure established by the 
JRC, General Loomis asked them to fur- 
nish detailed justification for their estimate. 
He seized this opportunity to request them 
to withdraw all Ml 903 and Ml 91 7 rifles 
from units not on the approved troop list. 
Finally, he informed them that recent 
requisitions submitted by them for M 1 rifles 
were disapproved, adding a reminder that 
it was the War Department policy to sup- 

30 Msg FX-83584, CG NATOUSA to Larkin, 
16 Aug 44, JRC 474/002 .30-cal Rifles. 

"Msgs L-39826, JRC to NATOUSA, 31 Aug 
44, and F-79431, CG NATOUSA to SOS 
NATOUSA, 5 Aug 44, quoted in Msg F-91987, 
CG NATOUSA to SOS NATOUSA, 4 Sep 44, 
JRC 474/002 ,30-cal Rifles. 



ply the Ml 903 and M1917 rifles as substi- 
tutes for Ml rifles. He then enjoined them 
to make no further demands on U.S. sup- 
ply agencies for Ml rifles, a request which 
was duly acknowledged, on 27 October, 
by Brig. Gen. Antoine Poydenot. 32 

To sum up, the French North African 
forces engaged in the campaign of Italy and 
later in the campaign of France fought with 
the Ml 91 7 rifle and to a lesser extent with 
the Ml 903 rifle and the Ml carbine, in 
addition to some old rifles of French manu- 
facture. Except for the carbine, they were 
forced to use substitute weapons as a re- 
sult of production shortages of the stand- 
ard items. 

Automatic Weapons 

As in the case of rifles and carbines, the 
French used in the Tunisian campaign and 
for some time afterward the automatic and 
semiautomatic weapons of French manu- 
facture originally available to them in North 
Africa. 1 " Among these were the 7.5-mm. 
model 1924-29 (Chauchat) fusil-mitrail- 
leur, or automatic rifle, 14 to which they 
were particularly attached as they consid- 
ered it far superior to any similar weapon of 
foreign manufacture, the 7.65-mm. auto- 
matic pistol, and the 8-mm. revolver. The 
British-equipped 1st DFL, meanwhile, con- 
tinued to use its .303-caliber Bren guns. 

As the rearmament operations got under 
way, program units began receiving Ameri- 
can automatic and semiautomatic arms. 

32 Memo, Loomis for CofS Fr Ground Forces, 
18 Sep 44, JRC 474/002 .30-cal Rifles. 

General Poydenot was the successor to General 
Blanc as Assistant Chief of Staff, French Ground 
Forces in North Africa. Memo, Poydenot for 
JRC, 27 Oct 44, JRC 474/002 .30-cal Rifles. 

33 Background material for this section is in the 
file JRC 474/003 Automatic Weapons. 

" More exactly, machine rifle. 



250 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



However, deliveries in some cases being con- 
siderably delayed by production shortages, 
a few units retained their French or British 
weapons with the result that their final 
equipment included a mixture of arma- 
ment. In general, program units used, in 
Italy as well as later in France, American 
automatic arms, while nonprogram and 
Sovereignty units used the remaining stocks 
of French weapons. 

In principle, the issue of American auto- 
matic rifles and pistols as well as of light 
and heavy machine guns was to be made in 
the same ratio as to corresponding U.S. 
troops. As already pointed out, to compen- 
sate for the rifle substitutions additional au- 
tomatic weapons were added to the French 
tables of equipment. Thus an allocation of 
some 900 Thompson .45 -caliber subma- 
chine guns was authorized in early 1943. 
In July of the same year, feeling that this 
allocation was insufficient, the French re- 
quested a further issue of 3,500 Thompsons 
as substitutes for a like number of Ml rifles 
and carbines. The request was disap- 
proved by Ordnance, AFHQ, on the 
ground that the proper substitute for these 
weapons, as used by U.S. troops themselves, 
was the Ml 903 rifle. 3 * 

By August of the same year AFHQ offi- 
cials themselves became aware of the critical 
situation of the three divisions already re- 
armed with respect to automatic weapons. 
As they explained to the War Department, 
of the 1,769 Browning automatic rifles 
( BAR's) authorized for these divisions 
under the approved French Table of Organ- 
ization of 18 January 1943, only 253 had 
been made available for shipment due to 

™ Ltr, Blanc to Artamonoff, 4 Jul 43, Memo from 
Ordnance Office appended to draft cable from JRG 
to AG WAR, 9 Jul 43, and Memo, Artamonoff for 
Blanc, 9 Jul 43, JRC 474/003 Automatic Weapons. 



shortages of that weapon in the United 
States. 3 * This was a serious matter for, in 
the opinion of the French, no weapon could 
adequately take the place of an automatic 
rifle, much less of their own version of that 
weapon, the fusil-mitrailleur. Their whole 
conception of minor tactics was predicated 
on the use of the automatic rifle as the basic 
weapon of the combat group. To deprive 
a combat group of such a weapon was tanta- 
mount to destroying its effectiveness in ac- 
tion. The substitution previously offered 
by the War Department, namely, the 
provision of 724 light machine guns 
M1919A4, was termed inadequate, the 
weapon being considered unsatisfactory be- 
cause of weight. Theater officials feared 
that divisions, if equipped with M1903 and 
M1917 rifles instead of Ml rifles and car- 
bines, and largely with M1919A4 machine 
guns instead of BAR's, would have con- 
siderably reduced combat efficiency. They 
urged, on 29 August 1 943, the early assign- 
ment of additional automatic rifles or satis- 
factory substitutes to bring the units up to 
authorized table of organization. 37 Three 
days later they also requested the immediate 
allocation of 200 additional submachine 
guns, preferably Thompsons, per infantry 
regiment, the request being based on the fact 
that in each regiment 2,728 Ml 903 rifles 
had been substituted for 1,128 Ml carbines 
and 1,600 Ml rifles. They also asked for 
a further allocation of submachine guns, 972 
for the Moroccan goumiers, then num- 

30 The French Table of Organization referred to 
was T.E.G. (Tableau d'Effectifs de Guerre) 48, 
established on the basis of the old U.S. Table of 
Organization of 1 August 1942. On 21 November 
1943 the French adopted a new table, T.E.G. 
5465, based on the U.S. Table of Organization 
7-11 of 1 March 1943. 

,: Msg W-8568, Spalding to AGWAR, 29 Aug 43, 
JRC 474/003 Automatic Weapons. 



CONTROVERSY OVER SUBSTITUTE WEAPONS 



251 



bering 12,000 men, and 125 for the 1,100 
commandos. 38 

On 8 September the War Department 
informed AFHQ that the Thompson sub- 
machine guns could be made available with- 
out delay as requested. A subsequent 
message advised that since BAR's were still 
in short supply only 1,000 could be fur- 
nished. To compensate for this deficiency, 
additional Thompsons were being offered 
"in some ratio greater than one for one" if 
desired. To this, the theater replied that 
the deficiency could be best met tentatively 
by additional Thompsons in a ratio of one 
to one, with the supply of BAR's to be com- 
pleted as rapidly as production would allow. 
Such was the line of action taken. In 
November, the French military authorities 
having reduced the allowance of BAR's per 
infantry regiment from 189 to 81 to con- 
form with the new U.S. table of organiza- 
tion, 39 it was expected that sufficient BAR's 
could soon be made available to them under 
the reduced ratio. 40 

In December 1943, as the first division 
(the 2d Moroccan Infantry) reached the 
Italian front, each of its infantry regiments 
was equipped with the following automatic 
weapons: 81 BAR's, 150 Thompson sub- 
machine guns, 31 light and 24 heavy 
,30-caliber machine guns, and 34 .50-caliber 
machine guns. 41 Except for the Thomp- 
sons, which were intended to make up for 
rifle deficiencies, the number and types of 
automatic weapons in the hands of the divi- 

38 Msg W-8954, Spalding to AGWAR, 2 Sep 43, 
in same file. 

30 Table of Organization 7-11, Mar 43. 

10 Msgs, Somervell to Eisenhower, 71 49, 8 Sep 43, 
and 7258, 9 Sep 43, and W-681, Spalding to 
AGWAR, 22 Sep 43, JRC 474/003 Automatic 
Weapons. 

" Memo, Leyer for Rearmament Sec Fr Gen 
Staff, 13 Jan 44, in same file. 



sion corresponded almost exactly to those 
furnished similar U.S. organizations. Inci- 
dentally, the division had received its BAR's 
only five days before leaving North Africa 
with the result that instruction in the use of 
that weapon had been practically nil. The 
BAR being much more complicated than 
the fusil-mitrailleur, the natives were re- 
ported to be experiencing considerable tech- 
nical difficulties in handling and maintain- 
ing the rifle ; in particular they were said to 
be consistently mislaying the bipod. 4 "' 

Later divisions to reach Italy were sim- 
ilarly equipped, although their armament 
still included some non-U. S. automatic 
weapons. Thus the 3d Algerian and the 
4th Moroccan Mountain arrived with 335 
and 686 French automatic rifles, respec- 
tively, and the 1st Motorized Infantry Divi- 
sion with its full load of Brens. Ammuni- 
tion for the latter was provided entirely by 
the British forces in Italy. As for Moroc- 
can tabors, they, like other nonprogram 
units then in process of organization, were 
using their 7.5-mm. fusils-rnitrailleurs, 8- 
mm. carbines and revolvers, and 7.65-mm. 
automatic pistols. In March 1944 the 
French General Staff undertook the gradual 
replacement of these weapons with U.S. 
arms, since the supply of spare parts and 
ammunition for the French calibers was 
rapidly diminishing. An earlier French 
proposal that the United States undertake 
the manufacture of 115 million rounds of 
7.5-mm. ammunition for the 1,600-odd 
fusils-mitrailleurs still in active service had 
been turned down, in December, as im- 
practicable. In the opinion of the French 
General Staff, therefore, it was urgent to re- 
ceive as speedily as possible the number of 

'- Memo, Kingman for Loomis, 26 Jan 44, JRC 
333/002 Inspections by Gen Kingman. 



252 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



BAR's assigned under the rearmament pro- 
gram as well as the repayment of U.S. arms 
loaned to equip nonprogram units, 43 

In April the War Department offered for 
use by the French some 10,500 Johnson 
semiautomatic rifles, and 1,500 Johnson 
light machine guns, both .30 caliber, re- 
maining undelivered from old Netherlands 
contracts taken over by the United States 
Government in 1942. The French re- 
quested the rifles for the Sovereignty troops. 
No favorable action appears to have been 
taken by the MAB in this connection. 44 

Throughout the spring of 1 944 and right 
up to the time of the launching of Anvil,, 
the French concentrated their efforts on 
trying to obtain an increase in the allocation 
of BAR's for their combat units. On 19 
June General Leyer informed the JRC that 
he wished to effect the replacement of 1,155 
fusils-mitrailleurs still in use by an equal 
number of BAR's. In the absence of a de- 
cision on the matter, he submitted, four 
weeks later, a request for the immediate al- 
location of 117 additional BAR's for the 
4th Moroccan Mountain Division, this in 
spite of the fact that, by this time, the 
French had received enough BAR's to raise 
the allowance of that weapon per infantry 
regiment from 81 to 93 and in some cases 
to 110. The request, General Leyer 
pointed out, was motivated by tactical con- 
siderations and the fact that the 4th DMM 
possessed characteristics of a special nature. 
NATO USA turned down the proposal and 
advised General Leyer to redistribute the 
BAR's already in the hands of the other 

43 Memo, Leyer for Loomis, 10 Mar 44, JRC 
474/004 Ammunition for 1st Exp Corps; Memos, 
Leyer for Loomis, 16 Nov, 7 Dec 43, JRC 471/001 
Ammunition — Misc . 

"Msg W-21454, Somervell to Devers, 11 Apr 
44, and Memo, Leyer for Loomis, 7 Jun 44, JRC 
474/003 Automatic Weapons. 



divisions if he wished to carry out his in- 
tentions with regard to the 4th DMM. 45 

Another attempt made later by the 
French met with a similar fate. On 1 8 July 
they offered 200 fusils-mitrailleurs for use by 
the Resistance forces in France, in exchange 
for a like number of BAR's for issue to expe- 
ditionary units. After a lengthy examina- 
tion of the various problems involved, the 
JRC advised them that no BAR's would be 
made available for such an exchange. 46 

By this time it was obvious that AFHQ 
would not consent to an increase of BAR's, 
the opinion being that the total number of 
these weapons furnished both as initial 
equipment and as maintenance was suffi- 
cient to fill all needs including those of non- 
program units. 47 The matter could now be 
considered closed. 

In September the French General Staff 
requested that nonprogram units be issued 
1,500 ,45-caliber Colt automatic pistols in 
exchange for a like number of 7.65-mm. 
automatic pistols and 8-mm. revolvers in 
their possession, for which the supply of am- 
munition was now nearly exhausted. Once 
again their request was denied because of 
the current shortage of Colt pistols, but the 
JRC submitted a requisition to the London 
Munitions Assignments Board for the allo- 
cation of 8-mm. and 7.65-mm. ammuni- 
tion then available in the Middle East. In 
view of the more limited supply of 7.65-mm. 
ammunition, however, the French were 
urged to replace the 7.65-mm. pistols in the 
hands of combat units with 8-mm. revolvers 
for which ammunition was available in suf- 



45 Memos, Leyer for Loomis, 19 Jun 44, Loomis 
for Devers, 20 May 44, and Loomis for Leyer, 24 
Jul 44, JRC 474/003 Automatic Weapons. 

40 Memos, Leyer for Loomis, 18 Jul 44, and 
Loomis for Leyer, 31 Aug 44, in same file. 

47 Memo, Loomis for G-4 AFHQ, 21 Jun 44, in 
same file. 



CONTROVERSY OVER SUBSTITUTE WEAPONS 



253 



ficient quantity. The French chose to 
withdraw from stocks reserved for Sov- 
ereignty forces the 7.65-mm. pistol ammu- 
nition needed by expeditionary troops. 48 

Considering that French infantry regi- 
ments received the normal complement of 
other standard U.S. weapons, 43 the few sub- 

48 Memos, Poydenot for Loomis, 2 Sep 44, Loomis 
for Poydenot, 30 Sep 44, and Crump for JRC Ad- 
vance, 20 Oct 44, in same file. 

" Such as hand and rifle grenades, 27 60-mm. 



stitutions imposed on them, while increasing 
their supply and maintenance problems, did 
not impair in any appreciable manner their 
fire power. It can reasonably be said that 
they were really at no disadvantage when 
compared with corresponding U.S. units. 50 



mortars, 18 81 -mm. mortars, 18 57-mm. antitank 
guns, and 6 105-mm. howitzers. 

Intervs with Loomis, Jun and Jul 50, and 
Piatte, Sep 51. 



CHAPTER XVI 

Other Material Problems 



Food 

It will be recalled that General Devers, 
in a letter of 13 February 1944 to General 
Marshall discussing Franco-American rela- 
tions, referred to the inadequacy of the ra- 
tions served to the troops fighting in Italy as 
an important French grievance. 1 

The food problem had long been a major 
preoccupation of both Allied and French 
military authorities. From November 
1942 to the fall of 1943, the French had as- 
sumed the entire responsibility for feeding 
their own forces ; with the exception of some 
minor food items procured from U.S. 
sources, French troops had subsisted on lo- 
cally produced foodstuffs. With the forth- 
coming departure of the first expeditionary 
units for overseas operations, the question of 
the responsibility for their subsistence was 
re-examined. 

It was then agreed that the French mili- 
tary authorities would make available to 
SOS, NATOUSA, as in the case of other 
supplies, all food items needed for such of 
their forces as would operate under U.S. 
command. SOS would then issue, through 
the appropriate U.S. command, to the units 
in operation rations based on a predeter- 
mined menu. Since a large percentage of 
the troops was made up of Moslems (50 
percent by March 1944), 2 two types of ra- 
tions were established, the Moslem ration 



differing from the French menu largely in 
that it included no pork products. 3 

French authorities then promised to 
furnish the items peculiar to the French 
diet, such as brandy, wine, and cooking 
oil, as well as all items produced in North 
and West Africa: dried vegetables, dried 
fruit, lentils, sardines, flour, macaroni, and 
coffee. To build up a large reserve of these 
foodstuffs, the JRC, it will be recalled, had 
urged General Leyer in September and 
October 1943 to proceed at once with the 
establishment of a comprehensive food 
program. It was agreed that what the 
French could not procure from local sources 
they were to obtain by requisitioning on the 
United States through the JRC. 4 

In anticipation of the huge demand for 
nonperishable foods likely to result from the 
expected increase in the size of the expedi- 
tionary forces, the French submitted in 
September an initial requisition for such 
types of food since these were not available 
from local sources. This led to a re-exam- 
ination of French capabilities and to a re- 
statement by AFHQ of the policy with 
regard to the division of responsibility be- 
tween the Americans and the French. On 
12 October NATOUSA reiterated that the 
French were to furnish an agreed list of 
items, the U.S. Army being responsible for 



1 See 



pp. 153-55 



above. 

: 32 percent in armored units; 54 percent in other 
units. Msg F-24631, Devers to AGWAR, 29 Mar 
44, JRC Gable Log. 



* Memo 493, Leyer for Spalding, 19 Aug 43, and 
Memo, Hq NATOUSA for SOS NATOUSA, 15 
Sep 43, JRC 400.1/061 Subsistence for Fr Army. 

'Memo, Hq NATOUSA for SOS NA TOUSA, 
12 Oct 43, in same file. See | pp. \\TA% , above. 



OTHER MATERIAL PROBLEMS 



255 



providing all other components necessary 
to complete the agreed ration scale. In 
addition, the U.S. Army was to supply all 
emergency rations. 5 

Such were the arrangements made in 
October with respect to the subsistence of 
French troops. Barely two or three months 
later, at a time when the first units of the 
CEF were reaching the battle line in Italy, 
the JRC reported that the French military 
authorities were submitting requisitions for 
flour, macaroni, fruit juice, and canned 
fruit, all items which they previously had 
agreed to furnish in full. Their inability 
to keep to their agreement was ascribed to 
a variety of reasons. With respect to some 
items, the food-raising and -collecting pro- 
gram had not been pursued with sufficient 
energy. In other cases, physical causes 
beyond their control had prevented the 
French from accumulating the required 
reserves. Some harvests had not yielded 
the expected returns. Materials needed 
for canning, storing, packaging, and trans- 
porting perishable foodstuffs had been un- 
obtainable. A request submitted by Gen- 
eral Leyer on 13 October for an allocation 
of 10,000 sacks was expected to relieve the 
situation with respect to the packing of 
flour. 6 

The French, meanwhile, had given seri- 
ous consideration to the shipment to North 
African ports of the foodstuffs reported to 
be available in substantial quantities in 
other French territories, especially in Mada- 
gascar. Quartermaster, NATOUSA, had 
supported their attempts in this direction 
on the ground that such shipments would 
save like amounts of tonnage from the 

s Memos, Hq NATOUSA for SOS NATOUSA, 
12 Oct 43, and for Gen Leyer, 28 Oct 43, in same 
file. 

* JRC 400.1/051 S.A.A. of QM Items— Gen- 
Misc. 



United States. But the North African 
Shipping Board declined to make the nec- 
essary shipping available and the French 
were advised to requisition, through the 
North African Economic Board, the items 
which they would otherwise have obtained 
from Madagascar, General Giraud's per- 
sonal appeal to General Eisenhower in De- 
cember was likewise fruitless. Nor did the 
special conference called on 5 February 
1944 produce any satisfactory arrangement. 
The necessary shipping was not available. 
Furthermore, the bulk of the food produc- 
tion of Madagascar was being absorbed by 
the Allies for the supply of other theaters 
of operations. 7 

These and other factors had, by the end 
of 1943, precipitated a serious food crisis 
with the result that a larger share of the 
responsibility for feeding French combat 
troops was now being thrown in the lap of 
American supply agencies. On 16 January 
1944 General Devers advised both SOS, 
NATOUSA, and the Commanding Gen- 
eral, Fifth Army, that the U.S. Army 
would not furnish any of the ration items 
which the French had agreed to provide 
wholly from their own sources. Only in 
the case of items listed for partial supply 
from French sources would deficiencies be 
met from U.S. stocks. The French Army 
would then be required to replace the items 
so furnished. 8 

In addition to the difficulties encountered 
by the French in fulfilling their part of the 
subsistence program, it soon developed that 
the rations as currently fed the units of the 

7 Memos, QM for M and Tn NATOUSA, 6 Oct 
43, Loomis for Leyer, 6 Nov 43, and Ltrs, Giraud to 
Eisenhower, 9 Dec 43, Leyer to Loomis, 4 Mar 44, 
JRC 400.1/062 Food From Madagascar and West 
.Africa. 

8 Msg 29668, CG NATOUSA to CG SOS 
NATOUSA, 16 Jan 44, JRC 400.1/061 Subsistence 
for Fr Army. 



256 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



i 




2D MOROCCAN INFANTRY DIVISION MEN UNLOADING AMERICAN 
RATIONS from a mule train on the slopes of Mount Pantano, Italy, December 1943. 



CEF were not only insufficient in quantity 
but seriously deficient in nutritive elements, 
sugar and fats especially. The French 
High Command strongly suspected that ra- 
tion deficiencies were partly responsible for 
the abnormal number of cases of frozen 
feet (440 in the 2d Moroccan Division alone 
in December ) . In a memorandum to Gen- 
eral Clark, General Juin pointed out that 
the present ration inadequacy was prejudi- 
cial to the physical condition of his troops. 
It was necessary, he urged, to provide CEF 
units with a diet similar to the U.S. ration 
because of the severe climate conditions. 
The double standard was also affecting 
their morale. They felt "less well treated 
than their American comrades-in-arms." 
Simultaneously, General Giraud appealed 
to General Wilson with a request that CEF 



troops be issued rations similar to the Amer- 
ican B ration with some minor differences, 
such as French bread instead of U.S. bread 
and French tinned meat for natives instead 
of U.S. tinned foods containing pork. a 
That the French and Moslem rations 
were low by American standards was made 
apparent in a study conducted by Head- 
quarters, Fifth Army. Comparative figures 
indicating the number of pounds of daily 
ration per man were given as follows : 

American 4. 89 

French 3. 61 

Moslem 3. 09 

The, modification requested by the French 
was designed to increase the French ration 

Ltr, Devinck to CG AFHQ, 1 2 Jan 44, Memo, 
Juin for Clark, 12 Jan 44, and Ltr, Devinck to 
Wilson, 12 Jan 44, AFHQ Liaison Sec 420 France. 



OTHER MATERIAL PROBLEMS 



257 



to 4.77 pounds and the Moslem ration to 
3.68 pounds. Fifth Army recognized that 
CEF troops were not getting enough food 
and urged AFHQ to take immediate action 
to bring about an adjustment which would 
be satisfactory to them. 10 

The food crisis came to a head when, on 
22 January, General Leyer disclosed that 
supplying foodstuffs to the French armed 
forces was now encountering insurmount- 
able difficulties. These had been aggra- 
vated by a recent SOS decision whereby the 
French Quartermaster was to stock up in 
Italy a 90-day reserve of foodstuffs for the 
CEF. Considering that, in addition, the 
French Quartermaster had been directed 
to constitute stocks for the units designated 
for participation in Anvil, the huge amount 
of supplies thus to be assembled within a 
three-month period was much more than 
available resources permitted. General 
Leyer flatly stated that, thereafter, the sub- 
sistence of the CEF could be assured only 
on condition that the Allied command 
would undertake the responsibility "either 
without compensation in kind from the 
French or with repayment in kind within 
the limitations of French stocks under 
Reciprocal Aid procedure." 11 

The serious implications contained in 
General Leyer's announcement were made 
the object of a detailed study by the JRC. 
In a memorandum to G^t, AFHQ, Gen- 
eral Loomis described the unsatisfactory 
features of the existing arrangement gov- 
erning the supply of rations to French units 
operating as part of a U.S. force. He rec- 
ommended, in the interests of simplicity 
and of assuring proper subsistence for the 
troops involved, a modification of the ar- 

10 Memo, Hq Fifth Army for CinC AFHQ, 26 
Feb 44, JRC 400.1/061 Subsistence for Fr Army. 

11 Ltr, Leyer to Loomis, 22 Jan 44, in same file. 



rangement closely akin to General Leyer's 
own proposal. He suggested that SOS req- 
uisition the entire ration, substituting addi- 
tional flour for certain components deemed 
unnecessary ; that the French furnish the ad- 
ditional components which they required 
but which were not part of the U.S. ration; 
finally, that the French replace in U.S. 
stocks such food items as SOS would make 
available to their forces. 12 

While General Loomis' recommenda- 
tions were being studied, General Giraud, 
on 9 March, pointed out to General Wilson 
that the diet as then served to the CEF was 
so monotonous as to result in a marked 
lack of appetite among the troops. He 
urged that French units be "admitted to 
the benefits of the substitution of fresh or 
frozen meat," such as were enjoyed by 
American troops of the Fifth Army. Four 
days later General Leyer also referred to the 
monotony factor, which he blamed on the 
fact that the French and Moslem diets were 
based primarily on canned foods. He 
warned that the reduction of the cooking 
oil rations as then contemplated by. SOS 
would be most unfortunate since French 
units were receiving neither butter nor mar- 
garine, and oil was the only fat component 
of their diet. At the time, cooking oil was 
scarce in the United States. Since olive oil 
was available in North Africa, the War De- 
partment asked the theater to provide sal- 
vage containers in sufficient quantity for 
transporting this oil to Italy. Subse- 
quently, the theater made available to the 
French 25,000 five-gallon water cans for use 
as cooking oil containers. 13 

" Memos, Loomis for G-4 AFHQ, 7 Feb 44, and 
for Leyer, 7 Mar 44, in same file. 

13 Ltr, Giraud to Wilson, 9 Mar 44, and Memo, 
Leyer for Loomis, 13 Mar 44, in same file; Msgs 
2653, Somervell to Devers, 19 Mar 44, and 
L-27933, Larkin to Devers, 22 Jun 44, JRC Cable 
Log. 



258 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



General Giraud's proposal concerning 
fresh meat, of which troops of the CEF re- 
ceived none, was taken up by NATOUSA. 
Quartermaster officials reported that no 
such meat could be furnished the French, 
as the only source of supply was the United 
States, and the number of available reefer 
ships was limited. However, in April the 
French authorities and NATOUSA were 
able to arrange for the shipment to Italy of 
5,000 live sheep from local sources, or 
enough for one month's supply of fresh 
meat. Soon after, General Leyer informed 
the JRC that shipments of this nature could 
not be continued without disrupting the 
supply for civilians and for Territorial 
troops. Quartermaster, NATOUSA, then 
pointed out that General Leyer's statement 
was greatly at variance with the definite as- 
surance given earlier by French civil au- 
thorities that sufficient sheep could be found 
in North Africa to fulfill all French com- 
mitments. Incidentally, the same authori- 
ties were reported to have informally offered 
to sell fresh meat from North Africa to the 
U.S. Army. In addition, they were said to 
have requested the return of cold-storage fa- 
cilities then used by Allied forces, thus indi- 
cating a desire to provide a greater supply 
of fresh-frozen meat. The question of the 
further provision of fresh meat to the CEF 
was finally dropped, especially when it be- 
came known that the French command in 
Italy had made arrangements to purchase 
fresh meat locally and no longer needed live 
sheep from North Africa. 14 

On 19 April General Devers informed 
General Clark that to improve French ra- 

14 Memos, QM for JRC, 26 Mar, 27 Apr 44, 
Leyer for Loomis, 23 Apr 44, and G-4 for QM, 
26 Apr 44, JRC 400.1/061 Subsistence for Fr 
Army; Msgs F-57630, Devers to Clark, 10 Jun 44, 
and 4904/ciark to Devers, 22 Jun 44, JRC Cable 
Log. 



tions authority had been secured from the 
CCS to furnish the entire French and 
Moslem rations with the exception of wine 
and brandy. Yet it was not until 1 June, 
after final agreement between AFHQ, the 
War Department, and the CFLN, that the 
SOS assumed full responsibility for feed- 
ing the French forces fighting with the 
Fifth Army. The change-over did not 
affect the composition of the French and 
Moslem rations, which remained the same. 
Simultaneously, the MAB in Washing- 
ton allocated to the French Army 4,800 tons 
of canned corned beef, and 12,000 tons of 
frozen meat then available in Madagascar. 15 
From the time the new subsistence policy 
became effective, food ceased to be a prob- 
lem. Thereafter, the units of the French 
Expeditionary Corps in Italy received ade- 
quate rations. The policy was subsequently 
extended to the French forces participating 
in Anvil. 

Clothing 

Soon after the start of the rearmament 
operations, it became known that the 
French were unable to use a considerable 
proportion, in some instances as high as 
25 percent, of the clothing items of U.S. 
manufacture delivered to them. This was 
because of size differences, the average stat- 
ure of the French soldier being smaller than 
that of the American soldier. The differ- 
ences were particularly notable in the case 
of overcoats, coats, trousers, shirts, cover- 
alls, and service shoes. 10 ' In order to clothe 

15 Memos, Devers for CG Fifth Army, 19 Apr 
44, Hq NATOUSA for CG Fifth Army, 12 May 
44, and Msg F-48500, Devers to Fifth Army, 20 
May 44, JRC 400.1/061 Subsistence for Fr Army; 
Memo for Red, Office of CofS, 28 Apr 44, and 
Memo, QM AFHQ for AG OPS, 16 May 44, 
AFHQ 0100/4 SACS Red Sec, Fr Matters, Vol IV. 

" Size differences were not limited to items of 



OTHER MATERIAL PROBLEMS 



259 



their men properly, French unit com- 
manders were compelled to arrange locally 
with U.S. supply organizations or with the 
French Quartermaster for the exchange of 
unusable items. The seriousness of the sit- 
uation can be best appreciated when it is 
realized that in the case of one unit of 1 ,600 
men (the 1st Parachute Regiment), no 
fewer than 600 pairs of service shoes, 110 
parachute boots, 1 ,250 coveralls, and 1 ,200 
pairs of woolen trousers had to be ex- 
changed. In November 1943 the French 
Military Mission in Washington requested 
the War Department to lower the U.S. tariff 
by one size when assigning clothing to 
French troops. Later, in June 1944, the 
French military authorities supplied the 
War Department with their own size tariff 
to be used in the case of all subsequent ship- 
ments of clothing. 17 

Something should be said of the many 
problems raised in connection with the pro- 
vision of clothing for the women serving in 
the French armed forces. 18 

By the end of 1943 the African Army in- 
cluded 3,100 women in uniform, all volun- 
teers. A few of these were employed as 
technicians in the Signal Corps or as nurses 
in the Medical Corps. The rest were serv- 
ing as secretaries, social workers, interpret- 
ers, drivers, and the like. Mobilization of 

clothing for troops. In the case of animals, dif- 
ferences in shoe size caused considerable difficulty. 
In June 1944 AFHQ requested the War Depart- 
ment to discontinue all further shipments of horse 
and mule shoes to the French Army as the con- 
version of U.S. shoes to conform to French re- 
quirements resulted in excessive waste. Thereafter, 
metal only would be requested, if needed, for fab- 
rication of shoes locally. Msg F-54092, AFHQ to 
AGWAR, 2 Jun 44, ASF International Div Files, 
A-45-192 Cables, Vol. X. 

17 Memo, Bouscat for Loomis, 18 Nov 43, JRC 
360/002 Items Common to Ground and Air; Memo, 
NATOUSA for WD, 21 Jun 44, OPD 400 France, 
Sec IV. 

18 JRC 400.1/076 Women's Clothing. 



women having been decreed, another 1,700 
women were in process of induction. Ex- 
pecting that more would be recruited within 
the first few months of 1944, the French 
High Command set the goal at approxi- 
mately 11,000. This number never was 
reached, partly because AFHQ urged that 
conscription of the numerous women al- 
ready employed in Allied services through- 
out North Africa be deferred. SOS, 
NATOUSA, in particular, was eager to re- 
tain its civilian female employees so as not 
to disturb the progress of its activities. The 
French High Command agreed to place all 
such personnel on special assignment to the 
Allied agencies concerned. 

So far the French Supply Services had 
received 5,800 sets of women's clothing or 
enough for the effectives then in active serv- 
ice. The uniforms and clothing items 
were of the type issued members of the U.S. 
Women's Army Corps (WAC). It was 
understood that uniforms were to be worn 
with French buttons and insignia. When 
it was reported that a number of French 
nurses were wearing WAC uniforms with 
U.S. buttons and insignia, the theater com- 
mander directed the JRC to inform the 
French that the practice must be stopped at 
once. 19 

The wearing by French Army women of 
the WAC cap with visor, an item which had 
been issued to them along with the rest of 
the uniform, precipitated a minor crisis. 
American officials in the theater decided 
that, because of its style, the cap was a dis- 
tinctive article of the U.S. uniform, and 
that its wearing even with French insignia 
would result in confusion. Whereupon 
NATOUSA requested the War Depart- 
ment to discontinue further shipments of the 
item to the French, and at the same time 

''' Memo, Loomis to Leyer, 30 Nov 43, in same file. 



260 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



asked the French to return to U.S. stocks 
the caps already delivered to them. 20 Soon 
French Army women were observed in the 
streets of Algiers without any hat at all, no 
provision having been made for a substitute. 
The JRC then hurriedly submitted a requisi- 
tion for 5,000 garrison caps which SOS sub- 
sequently was authorized to deliver from 
stocks in the theater. Much to their 
chagrin, the French women returned the 
cap with visor and donned the less elegant 
garrison headgear. 

On the assumption that mobilization 
would achieve the expected goal, the French 
Military Mission in Washington, in Febru- 
ary 1944, obtained the assignment of 
another 6,500 sets of women's clothing. By 
this time the French had received all to- 
gether 11,500 sets (8,000 U.S. WAC uni- 
forms and 3,500 U.S. Army Nurse Corps 
obsolete blue uniforms). This was over 
twice as many as they needed, for even by 
August 1944 no more than 4,815 women 
had actually been recruited (3,465 in the 
Army and 1,350 in the Air Force). Of 
these, 1,745 were serving with the expedi- 
tionary forces. Out of an expected total of 
1,335 nurses, only 635 had been recruited. 
The French, as a result, lacked 100 nurses 
for their expeditionary forces, and 500 for 
the Territorial forces. 

On 26 April 1944 the French Army 
women were reorganized as the Auxiliaires 
Feminines de l'Armee de Terre, or AFAT. 
Shortly after, their Director, Maj. H. Terre, 
submitted to AFHQ a request for 3,000 sets 
of British clothing "on sentimental as well as 
practical grounds." She explained that the 
first women to be recruited had been or- 
ganized in the United Kingdom where they 
had been issued the uniform worn by the 



women of the British Army ( Auxiliary Ter- 
ritorial Service). She now wished to have 
all AFAT units dressed in that fashion. In 
her opinion the British uniform was more 
suitable for the heavy duties which the 
French women were performing as drivers 
and mechanics. Moreover, the British al- 
lotment included "under-garments unob- 
tainable in North Africa and not included in 
the American equipment." 21 The request 
was rejected on the general principle that 
the provision of clothing to the AFAT was 
just as much an American responsibility as 
was the equipping of other French person- 
nel. Throughout the war, except for the 
few women still stationed in the United 
Kingdom, the AFAT continued to be sup- 
plied from American sources. 

Special Supplies 

One problem closely related to the food 
ration question caused considerable diffi- 
culties and endless confusion, particularly 
throughout Phase IV of the rearmament 
program. It concerned the distribution to 
French troops of special supplies considered 
essential from the standpoint of health, 
morale, and combat efficiency. 

These supplies fell into three categories: 
( 1 ) "gratuitous components," items such 
as candy, cigarettes, and the like, which in 
the U.S. Army are normally issued free to 
the troops in the forward zone: (2) "post 
exchange" supplies, also called "resale ar- 
ticles," such as candy, toilet articles, smok- 
ing components, clothing, and other items 
handled by Army Exchange Service and 
sold in post exchange stores to military 
personnel for cash usually on a ration sched- 
ule; and (3) "Special Services" supplies, 



20 Msg W-6706, JRC to AGWAR, 1 Dec 43, in 
same file. 



21 Ltr, Maj Terre to Maj Gen Beaurnont-Ncsbitt, 
Liaison Sec AFHQ, 8 Jun 44, in same file. 



OTHER MATERIAL PROBLEMS 



261 




FRENCH WACS ASSEMBLING ON THE BEACH after landing at St. Tropez, 
France, 17 August 1944. 



such as athletic kits, libraries, and other 
recreational items, distributed to units by 
Special Services Division, ASF. 

In the summer of 1943, as the first ex- 
peditionary units were getting ready for 
combat duty outside of northwest Africa, 
the French military authorities gave serious 
consideration to the question of special 
supplies. AFHQ urged them to stockpile 
the necessary items, first by drawing to the 
maximum extent possible on local French 
sources, then by lend-lease cash purchases 
effected on the basis of requisitions sub- 
mitted to, and screened by, the JRC, and 
finally, when necessary, by direct cash pur- 
chases in the United States through the 
French Military Mission in Washington. 
The last procedure was to be followed par- 
ticularly in the case of Special Services sup- 



plies." When, in mid-October, the French 
requested for their expeditionary units an 
allocation of boxing gloves, rugby balls, and 
basketballs, all items then unavailable in 
North Africa, they were advised to buy 
them in the United States on a cash basis. 

Later, on 21 October, the theater ap- 
proved an initial global requisition cover- 
ing post exchange supplies for 125,000 
French Army and Air Force troops, plus 
90 days' maintenance. Distribution of the 
resale items was to be effected by the French 
High Command through military co-op- 
eratives set up on the pattern of the Ameri- 
can post exchange stores. In a subsequent 

22 Memos, Spalding for Leyt-r, 20 Aug 43, and 
Loomis for Leyor, 23 Oct 43, and Msg 2034, 
Somervell to Eisenhower, 9 Nov 43, JRC 400.1/051 
PX Sups. 



262 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



message to the War Department dated 24 
December, AFHQ recommended that the 
French be required to make cash payment 
in the United States for the supplies in- 
volved, and that shipment of the items be 
included in the 25,000 tons allocated 
monthly to the French military. The War 
Department approved the recommendation 
with the proviso that the French Military 
Mission would arrange for the shipment of 
supplies through the War Shipping Admin- 
istration. 23 

Such was the situation at the opening of 
Phase IV in February 1944. The French 
were still eagerly awaiting the supplies or- 
dered in October. Anticipating that their 
needs would increase as their expeditionary 
forces grew, they submitted new requisi- 
tions. These, although approved at first by 
the JRC, were rejected as excessive by the 
North African Economic Board. The 
French were then asked to scale down their 
demands and resubmit requisitions, this 
time with appropriate justification and the 
assurance that the items involved could not 
be obtained locally. 24 

In an effort to ward off any possible mis- 
understanding on the part of the French 
with respect to the transfer to them of post 
exchange supplies shipped from the United 
States, General Loomis, on 10 February 
1944, reiterated the policy as determined 
earlier by the War Department, namely, 
that the transaction was to be "on a cash 
basis outside of Lend-Lease procedure" and 
that payment was to be effected in the 
United States. To establish a definite pro- 

53 Memo, Hq NATOUSA for CG SOS 
NATOUSA, 21 Oct 43, in same file; Msgs 
W-8440, Eisenhower to AGWAR, 24 Dec 43, and 
6188, Somervell to Eisenhower, 2 Jan 44, JRC 
Cable Log. 

" Memo, Loomis for Leyer, 3 Feb 44, JRC 
400.1/051 PX Sups. 



curement procedure, General Loomis then 
asked General Leyer to agree that French 
requests for post exchange supplies would 
be submitted by French representatives in 
the United States directly to the appropri- 
ate U.S. agency. 25 

Pending arrival of the first supplies or- 
dered from the United States in the fall 
of 1943, AFHQ authorized and later com- 
pleted several cash transactions in the 
theater. These concerned items then con- 
sidered theater excess stocks, such as pipe 
tobacco available in large quantities in 
British depots and substantial amounts of 
American "off-brand" cigarettes not desired 
by U.S. troops. These sporadic transac- 
tions were not sufficient to improve the situ- 
ation greatly. By April the French mili- 
tary authorities were still forced to ration 
stringently the post exchange type of sup- 
plies which they were distributing to their 
troops. 

In a memorandum to the Joint Air Com- 
mission dated 14 April, General Bouscat, 
Commanding General, French Air Force, 
described the plight of the air squadrons 
then stationed in Sardinia and operating 
under U.S. command. Personnel of the 
units were limited to the following rations : 
10 ounces monthly of soap of poor quality, 
one package of cigarettes daily, and some 
shoe polish at irregular intervals. No other 
items were provided. Considering that the 
men of these units were forbidden by the 
Allied command to buy from the local shops 
and were not allowed the use of Amer- 
ican post exchange stores, they had no way 
of supplementing their meager rations. 
This, General Bouscat stressed, was bad 
from the standpoint of morale as it created 

"Memo, Loomis for Leyer, 10 Feb 44, in same 
file. 



OTHER MATERIAL PROBLEMS 



263 



among the men the regrettable feeling that 
they were less well treated than their Amer- 
ican comrades. Couldn't access to the U.S. 
post exchange stores be extended to the 
troops concerned? General Bouscat's re- 
quest, opposed at first by G-4, NATOUSA, 
on the ground that the responsibility for 
providing post exchange supplies rested en- 
tirely with the French High Commarid, was 
subsequently granted by order of General 
Devers. This action was not to be taken 
as a policy but as an emergency measure. 
Meanwhile, the supplies ordered in Novem- 
ber were still under procurement in the 
United States. It was not until 30 April 
1944 that they were finally shipped. They 
began reaching North African ports in 
June. 26 

The entire question of special supplies 
came up again for discussion apropos of 
the gratuitous components then turned over 
to the units in Italy. On 23 May the War 
Department reminded AFHQ that such 
supplies were to be paid for in cash by the 
French. A month later the French advised 
the theater that they were unable to pay 
cash and requested that the issue to them of 
the items be made under the Lend-Lease 
Act as in the case of all other supplies of 
U.S. source. Queried on the matter by 
AFHQ, the War Department replied that 
it was up to the State Department and the 
Foreign Economic Administration to deter- 
mine whether supplies furnished the French 
by the War Department were for cash or on 
credit. Pending final arrangements on the 
matter, the issue of gratuitous components 



28 Memos, Gardiner for Loomis, 20 Apr 44, 
Adcock for CofS NATOUSA, 10 May 44, and 
Loomis for G-4 AFHQ, 7 May 44, and Msgs 
F^t6396, CG NATOUSA to Brig Gen Robert M. 
Webster, 16 May 44, and WX-43037, Somervell 
to Devers, 29 May 44, in same file. 



as currently made to CEF units in Italy was 
approved. 27 

It was not until 20 July that the French 
finally answered General Loomis' letter of 
10 February concerning the question of 
post exchange "resale items." General 
Leyer's reply disclosed that, as in the case 
of the gratuitous components, the Finance 
Commissioner was now unable to provide 
the necessary funds in dollars for cash pay- 
ment in the United States of the resale 
items. Nor, he added, could the Commis- 
sioner pay in French francs each time such 
supplies were procured. This was because 
receipts from post exchange sales remained 
in unit treasuries and did not return to any 
general post exchange fund, as was the 
practice in the U.S. Army, thus making it 
impossible to purchase additional resale 
articles. He then proposed that the sup- 
ply of such items to the forces whose main- 
tenance was a U.S. responsibility be author- 
ized as a lend-lease transaction. All items 
so obtained would be sold on a cash basis 
to the troops concerned. 28 NATOUSA 
endorsed the proposal and, with the 
agreement of the International Division, 
established, on 1 2 August, a policy to govern 
the provision of post exchange resale items 
and gratuitous components to the French. 
Thereafter SOS issued gratuitous compo- 
nents to such Army and Air Force troops 
as were serving with the U.S. forces out- 
side the continental limits of Africa, and 
reported the transfers to International 
Division for financial accounting. SOS 
also made available to the same troops, 

"Msgs WX-40295, Somervell to Devers, 23 
May 44, and FX-62567, Devers to AGWAR, 
21 Jun 44, JRC Cable Log; Msg WX-57756, 
Somervell to Devers, 29 Jun 44, JRC 140 
Accounting. 

"Memo, Leyer for Loomis, 20 Jul 44, JRC 
400.1/051 PX Sups. 



264 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



stocks permitting, a limited number of 
post exchange resale items to be sold for 
cash only. The War Department and 
NATOUSA determined together, on the 
basis of availability, what quantities of the 
approved items could be delivered without 
jeopardizing the welfare of American 
troops. 29 

In mid-August, SOS turned over to the 
French approximately 40,000,000 books or 
boxes of matches and 6,500,000 packages 
of pipe tobacco then available in theater 
stocks. In the case of cigarettes, War De- 
partment officials informed NATOUSA 
that because of the current severe shortage 
of tobacco in the United States, cigarettes 
could be supplied up to 50 percent of the 
U.S. allowance and only if off-brands were 
acceptable to the French. 30 

On 8 October SOS urged the War De- 
partment to secure the items requisitioned 
in August as most were necessary to main- 
tain the health and morale of the French 
troops serving with the U.S. Army. Fifty- 
percent of the normal allowance was con- 
sidered a minimum requirement. In the 
case of cigarettes, General Larkin sug- 
gested that off-brand cigarettes be supplied 
to the French before being offered for sale 
to prisoners of war. 31 

As the equipment responsibility for the 
French forces passed from NATOUSA to 
ETOUSA in the fall of 1944, the same 
general policy continued to apply with 
respect to special supplies. French troops 
on the Continent kept receiving, as they 
had in the Mediterranean theater, a min- 

2B Msg FX-82228, Devcrs to International Div, 
12 Aug 44, JRC Cable Log. 

"Msg 41292, AGWAR to NATOUSA, 16 Sep 
44, in same file. 

31 Msg LX-45177, Larkin to Pcmbark, 2 Oct 
44, in same file. 



imum of items which could not be increased 
because of U.S. production limitations. 

Miscellaneous Equipment 

The French in North Africa also were 
almost destitute with respect to a number 
of articles of common use, especially manu- 
factured goods, generally available in 
healthy national economies and indispen- 
sable for the efficient running of a large 
military establishment. The critical situ- 
ation which French military authorities had 
faced in this connection during the year 
1943 became more acute as their troops 
were being committed to combat in Italy 
at the close of that year. 

In late December 1943 the Surgeon, 
AFHO, reported that a large percentage of 
the CEF troops engaged on the Italian 
front were infested with lice, apparently 
because they lacked the necessary sanitary 
facilities and supplies. Since it was essen- 
tial that troops be kept free from lice if 
epidemics of typhus fever were to be pre- 
vented, AFHQ requested the War De- 
partment to provide the French armed 
forces with 1 l /i million cans of body insect 
powder, 750,000 ampoules of methyl 
bromide, and 6,000 ethocel fumigation bags. 
The requisition was established on the basis 
of 300,000 troops. The methyl bromide 
being available in U.S. stocks in the theater, 
SOS delivered 750,000 ampoules at the 
end of January 1944. At the urging of 
the War Department, the requisition for 
insect powder was reduced to 645,000 
cans. These were subsequently assigned 
and their shipment arranged at the rate of 
215,000 monthly for the three months of 
March, April, and May 1944. To assist 
further the French High Command in tak- 
ing proper sanitary measures, various cir- 



OTHER MATERIAL PROBLEMS 



265 



culars and pamphlets issued by the Sur- 
geon's Office, NATOUSA, were translated 
into French, and in February 1944 lectures 
and demonstrations on typhus control were 
given to French personnel under the direc- 
tion of American medical officers. 

From 1944 on, miscellaneous French re- 
quests increased sharply in number. In 
February, General Leyer asked for 200 bar- 
ber kits. The requisition, at first rejected 
by M AC ( G ) , was finally granted in March. 
A first shipment of 100 kits was authorized, 
with the rest to follow at a later date. Also 
approved during the same month were re- 
quests for 6,000 canteen covers to be used 
by combat troops as grenade carriers, and 
for needles for the shoe-stitching machines 
which had been delivered earlier with an in- 
sufficient number of replacement needles. 

In April the French asked for a special 
allocation of 6,000 to 9,000 canteens to be 
used by the Senegalese troops of the 9th Co- 
lonial Infantry Division. The request was 
based on the fact that such troops required 
approximately four liters of water per day, 
or double the normal ration, to maintain 
their efficiency. On 28 April SOS, 
NATOUSA, effected the lend-lease transfer 
of 7,000 canteens. 

Again in April the French requested, 
through their Military Mission in Washing- 
ton, the issue of 60,000 packages of dried 
blood plasma for use by their expeditionary- 
forces engaged in Italy. This quantity was 
to tide them over until the opening of a 
blood collection center in North Africa 
which they then had under consideration. 1 " 
On 29 April the War Department author- 
ized the issue of blood plasma to all French 
troops operating as part of a U.S. 
force outside of North Africa with the un- 



Msg W -20933, Somervell to Devers, 9 Apr 44, 
JRG 400.1/033 Plasma, Human Normal, Dried. 



derstanding that U.S. Army stocks in the 
theater would be replenished by the French 
themselves through purchases in the United 
States of commercially procured plasma. 
This procedure was intended to prevent a 
conflict with the American Red Cross blood 
donor program. 33 

The question of the issue of penicillin to 
French hospitals in North Africa came up 
for discussion at about the same time. 
French troops operating with and supplied 
by the U.S. Army were issued penicillin on 
the same basis as U.S. personnel. How- 
ever, many casualties were evacuated to 
French hospitals in North Africa where pen- 
icillin was not available. For the benefit of 
these hospitals, the theater requested the 
shipment without delay of a first allocation 
of 1,000 ampoules. The War Depart- 
ment promptly granted the request and di- 
rected the theater to prepare thereafter 
monthly requisitions for submission to the 
War Production Board. 34 

For the printing of identification tags fur- 
nished to them under the rearmament pro- 
gram, the French had been authorized, in 
March 1944, to use an electric embossing 
machine then available at Peninsular Base 
Section. When it was realized that this pro- 
cedure overtaxed the limited U.S. facilities, 
General Devers, in July, requested the War 
Department to furnish the French with two 
such machines. The War Department re- 
plied that no electric equipment could be 
made available at the time, but offered to 
deliver a hand-operated machine instead. 
This machine was shipped in October 1944 

''•'Msgs, Somervell to Devers, 2667, 20 Mar 44, 
and W-29823, 29 Apr 44, and Ltr, Loomis to 
Leyer, 12 May 44, in same file, 

"'Msgs WX-47401, Somervell to Devers, 7 Jun 
44, F-64807, Devers to AGWAR, 26 June 44, and 
W 59483, Somervell to Devers, 3 Jul 44, JRC 
400.1/030 Medical Sups and Equip. 



266 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



to Base 901 in Marseille, the base then 
serving 1st French Army. 

The problem of the protection of cloth- 
ing in storage was one which the French had 
difficulty in solving for they lacked antimoth 
products. In the fall of 1944 they requested 
an allocation of twenty tons of naphthalene. 
The War Department promptly arranged 
to have 42,200 pounds of naphthalene de- 
livered through the Foreign Economic Ad- 
ministration. 

Throughout the year 1943, some equip- 
ment had been turned over piecemeal to the 
French Army Geographic Service in North 
Africa for which no provision was made 
under the rearmament program. This 
equipment was wholly inadequate and the 
service was unable to perform any valuable 
work. On its behalf, General Leyer sub- 
mitted, from February 1 944 on, a series of 
requisitions for materials and machinery of 
all types, such as overlay paper, maps, paper 
and equipment for printing maps, presses, 
photographic supplies, and even common- 
use items such as glue. In practically all 
cases, NATOUSA authorized the lend-lease 
transfer, from U.S. Army theater stocks, of 
the materials requested. As a result the 
Geographic Service gradually improved its 
efficiency and in the pre-ANViL period suc- 
ceeded in doing much valuable work. 

One last problem of some importance 
should be mentioned. It concerns the ina- 
bility of the North African authorities to 
secure from local sources the chemicals 
needed for the treatment of malaria, a dis- 
ease prevalent in many areas of French 
North and West Africa and the source of 
considerable annoyance to the troops sta- 
tioned in these territories. Atabrine, the 
medication used by the U.S. Army for this 
purpose, was then in great demand for Al- 
lied troops operating in the various theaters 



of operations. In 1 943 the French had al- 
ready requisitioned and obtained from the 
United States an adequate supply of the 
precious curative, or approximately 12 mil- 
lion tablets, on the basis of a troop strength 
of 270,000 men. This had enabled them 
to control the disease during and until the 
end of the malarial season (November). 
In January 1944 they estimated their re- 
quirements for the coming year at about 25 
million tablets, a figure which U.S. theater 
authorities reduced to 20 million. A first 
shipment of 15 million tablets was made in 
June and the rest shipped soon after. Con- 
tending that their West African forces had 
not been included in the over-all 1944 requi- 
sition, the French requested an additional 
allocation of 4 million tablets which 
NATOUSA reduced to 1,250,000. This 
latter quantity was subsequently approved 
in Washington and assigned for shipment 
in July. Thanks to the substantial ship- 
ments of atabrine from the United States 
and the energetic prophylactic measures 
taken by all theater medical agencies con- 
cerned, malaria failed to cause any undue 
hardship on the North African forces. 

Accounting 

No attempt is made in this volume to 
examine the many legal and financial as- 
pects of the North African lend-lease opera- 
tions owing, in part, to the fact that the 
important matter of the supply of the civil- 
ian population has been entirely left out as 
being irrelevant. Nor is a study made of 
the problems peculiar to "reverse" lend- 
lease, such as the procurement by the U.S. 
forces of goods and services available in 
North Africa (a matter involving, inci- 
dentally, the thorny tax issue) and the sign- 
ing of an agreement with the French on re- 



OTHER MATERIAL PROBLEMS 



267 



ciprocal aid. These and other similar prob- 
lems are matters for lend-lease historians. 35 
One question, however, requires some treat- 
ment at this juncture, not only because of 
its close connection with the rearmament 
operations, but also because the issue in- 
volved was the source of a serious contro- 
versy lasting some two and one half years, 
as a result of which insuperable difficulties 
were added to the already heavy burden of 
supplying the French with munitions of war. 
It concerns the manner in which transfers 
of American equipment were recorded and 
charged against the French for payment un- 
der the Lend-Lease Act. 

Under the terms of the Lend-Lease Act 
of 11 March 1941, the War Department 
was required to maintain complete records 
of all defense articles, facilities, information, 
or services transferred to foreign govern- 
ments. In the case of the French, mate- 
rials were transferred to them either in the 
United States or in the theater. 

Transfers effected in the United States 
involved largely the issue of initial equip- 
ment under the approved rearmament pro- 
grams. They were reported and charged 
against the French lend-lease account in the 
United States. Such accounting, in itself a 
simple procedure, should have been wholly 
adequate had it not been for the fact that 
shipments to the French were made, not di- 
rectly to them, but to the American com- 
manding general in the theater for subse- 
quent transfer, hence their designation of 
Commanding General Shipments. Thus 
was the responsibility of the commander in- 
volved since he was given control over 
French materiel to the extent that he could, 
if he so wished, divert part or all of it for 

* See, for example, Leighton and Coakley, Global 
Logistics and Strategy: 1940-1943. 



purposes other than French rearmament. 
As a result the theater was placed in a posi- 
tion where it had to keep strict accounting 
of the deliveries it made to the French of 
initial equipment obtained through Com- 
manding General Shipments.™ 

Responsibility for the accounting of 
theater transfers, that is, transfers effected 
at the direction of the U.S. commanding 
general in the theater or at the order of 
U.S. commanders in the field, obviously 
was that of the theater itself. Such ac- 
counting was effected in accordance with 
directives issued from time to time by the 
theater on the basis of policies established 
by the War Department. Transfers were 
recorded at the time of issue on shipping 
tickets signed by duly authorized French 
officers. The tickets were then priced in 
terms of dollars and, until September 1 944, 
consolidated by the base section or Air 
Forces service command concerned. After 
30 September 1944 they were consolidated 
by the Special Staff section concerned in 
Headquarters, MTOUSA, for ground force 
items, and the Air Forces service command 
for air force technical items. In this man- 
ner more uniformity in pricing and report- 
ing could be achieved. Finally, the reports, 
once consolidated, were forwarded to the 
theater fiscal director for inclusion in the 
bimonthly report to the War Department.' 17 

To lessen the burden of lend-lease ac- 
counting which it was required to assume 
and for which it had insufficient personnel, 
NATOUSA sought to obtain at least a 

M Msgs 7162, Eisenhower to AGWAR, 17 Mar 43, 
and 4663, Somervell to Eisenhower, 26 Mar 43, 
JRC Cable Log. 

17 Admin Memo 12, Hq NATOUSA, 19 Sep 43, 
MTOUSA 400.114 Misc Aug-Nov 43; Cir 5, 
AFHQ, 10 Jan 43, JRC 400.2/001 Admin of 
Sup — Gen: Logistical History of NATOUSA- 
MTOUSA, p. 369. 



268 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



simplification of the procedure with respect 
to Commanding General Shipments. In 
a message to the War Department dated 
30 March 1943, NATOUSA strongly 
urged that receipts be signed by the French 
in Washington and not in North Africa, 
with the understanding that any diversion 
of equipment subsequently made in the 
theater would promptly be reported. 3S 
War Department officials having turned 
down the proposal, the theater then sought 
ways and means to lighten the task of SOS, 
NATOUSA. To make it unnecessary, in 
particular, to open thousands of packages 
in order to inventory their contents, the 
French military authorities in Algiers were 
asked if they would be willing to sign re- 
ceipts based on ships' manifests. This they 
agreed to do. Thereupon, those American 
base sections expecting large shipments of 
French lend-lease equipment issued a stand- 
ing operating procedure setting forth the 
manner in which shipping tickets were to 
be prepared and receipted. 30 

The issue was reopened in late August 
1943 in connection with a new directive 
from the War Department redefining the 
policy with regard to lend-lease transfers. 
The directive stipulated that all transfers 
were to be recorded and reported, except 
in the case of Commanding General Ship- 
ments when only diversions from the latter 
needed to be reported. 40 

In the belief that this provision at last 
exempted the theater from receipting ship- 

Msg 1 73. Eisenhower to AGWAR, 30 Mar 
43. JRC Spalding Cable Log. 

"Msg 5032, Somervell to Eisenhower (Eyes 
Only), 31 Mar 43, JRC Spalding Cable Log; 
Msgs L- 1595, MBS to Gardiner, 3 Apr 43, and 
1548, Eisenhower to MBS, 4 Apr 43, JRC Cable 
Log: Admin Memo 47, Atlantic Base Sec, 8 Apr 
43,' JRC 402 Sup Policy. 

"'Memo W5-12-43, WD, 30 Aug 43, JRC 140 
Accounting, 



ments which were definitely consigned for 
transfer to the French, NATOUSA an- 
nounced its intention of discontinuing the 
practice. Whereupon the War Depart- 
ment directed that the theater was to con- 
tinue to obtain signed receipts from the 
French upon transfer of materiel either 
from theater stocks or from Commanding 
General Shipments. 41 

Meanwhile, accounting of theater trans- 
fers was running into considerable difficul- 
ties for a number of reasons. The theater 
was unable to obtain complete price cata- 
logues to cover the wide variety of parts and 
supplies released to the French. Shipping, 
handling, and other miscellaneous costs ac- 
cruing to supplies furnished could not al- 
ways be computed with accuracy. Soon 
after the entry of French troops on the Ital- 
ian front, many of the large number of 
transactions made necessary for their main- 
tenance were taking place in forward areas 
thus often precluding the possibility of ob- 
taining and pricing itemized signed receipts 
for all transfers. In addition, it was fre- 
quently impossible to distinguish between 
initial and maintenance issues. 42 From De- 
cember 1943 on to July 1944 new difficul- 
ties were experienced. The accounting 
policies established by the W ar Department 
for each category of transfers, such as sub- 
sistence, battle-loss replacements, petroleum, 
ammunition, were frequently changed. 
Piecemeal emergency transfers from theater 
stocks to fill large shortages of initial equip- 
ment, as well as attempts to recapture U.S. 
equipment from French stocks, complicated 
the situation further. 



"Msgs W-944, Eisenhower to AGWAR, 25 
Sep 43, and 8890, AGWAR to Eisenhower, 29 
Sep 43, JRC 140 Accounting. 

"Logistical History of NATOUSA-MTOUSA. 
pp. 373-76. 



OTHER MATERIAL PROBLEMS 



269 



By July 1944 accounting of theater trans- 
fers had reached such a state of confusion 
that SOS officials recommended a radical 
change in procedure for the sake of simpli- 
fication "even at the sacrifice of a certain 
degree of accuracy." They proposed that 
the French be charged for all supplies and 
services furnished by the theater on a "per 
man per diem" basis, with the charge made 
effective at a date to be agreed upon be- 
tween the French and SOS. General Dev- 
ers endorsed the proposal and strongly 
urged the War Department to approve its 
immediate adoption. Meanwhile, SOS 
proceeded to determine the amount to be 
charged per man per diem, on the basis of 
the average cost of maintaining one U.S. 
soldier for one day in the North African 
theater. To this average cost, 25 percent 
would be added for overhead, transporta- 
tion, and accessorial charges, the percentage 
having been tentatively set, on 29 August, 
by War Department authorities themselves. 
On 1 1 September 1944 ASF accepted the 
principle of the per man per diem account- 
ing procedure, but directed that, pending 
the approval of a definite rate, accounting 
be continued in accordance with existing 
policies. A month later, SOS, NATOUSA, 
forwarded to Washington all pertinent data 
likely to assist the War Department in es- 
tablishing a final rate and, on 16 November, 
recommended a charge of $8.54 per man 
per day/ 15 

As the supply responsibility for the 
French forces passed from NATOUSA to 

"Ltr, SOS NATOUSA to AG WD, 29 Jul 44, 
and Msgs FX -85245, Devers to AG WAR, 20 Aug 
44, and LX-47559, Larkin to AGWAR, 16 Oct 44, 
JRC 140 Accounting: Ltr, Hq ASF, APLIC COfi 
Accounting (3 Aug 44), 11 Sep 44, and 3d Ind, 
Hq MTOUSA, AG 400.3295/414 D-O, 16 Nov 44. 
quoted in Logistical History of NATOUSA- 
MTOUSA, p. 379. 



ETOUSA, the War Department, on 18 No- 
vember, informed ETOUSA of the ac- 
counting policy to be followed thereafter. 
The policy resembled closely the one estab- 
lished earlier under War Department 
Memorandum 35-44 of 22 September 

1944, and made no reference to the per 
man per diem proposal. Throughout the 
months of December 1944 and January 

1945, the War Department kept insisting 
that the existing policy be strictly adhered 
to. But the policy was not workable; it had 
not produced records "even approaching 
reasonable accuracy" on which future 
charges could be made. On 15 January 
General Somervell, then on a visit on the 
Continent, was made aware of the difficul- 
ties in complying with the complicated sys- 
tem prescribed by the War Department, 
especially in view of the lack of qualified 
personnel in the theater. Recognizing the 
desirability of adopting a simpler method, 
he urged the War Department by cable to 
put into effect the per man per diem 
method." 

Discussions on the per man per diem pro- 
cedure continued for several months. In 
April 1945 the War Department dispatched 
a special committee to study the status of 
lend-lease accounting in both the Mediter- 
ranean and European theaters. It was not 
until the end of May, after the cessation of 
hostilities in Europe and, incidentally, after 
ten months of correspondence between the 
two theaters and the War Department, that 
the latter, acting on the recommendations 
of the special committee, established a firm 

"Msg WX-66076, Somervell to Eisenhower, 18 
Nov 44, ASF International Div A-45-192 Cable 
Log, France-Out; Msgs E-90834, Lee to AGWAR, 
26 Jan 45. and E-86634, Somervell to AGWAR, 
15 Jan 45, SS and P Planning Div Files. 



270 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



accounting policy. 15 All prior charges and 
credits were to be canceled and, in their 
place, the French were to be charged : ( 1 ) 
for the complete equipment of all units in- 
cluded in the approved rearmament pro- 
grams on the basis of tables of organization 
and equipment for similar U.S. units; (2) 
for the supply and maintenance of their 
expeditionary units at the per man per diem 
rates of $6.56 (for MTOUSA) and $6.67 
(for ETOUSA), retroactive to the date 
when such units had become part of a 
U.S. force and terminating on 31 May 

,s Msgs WX-88427, AGWAR to MTOUSA, 26 
May 45, and WX-38215, AGWAR to ETOUSA, 
26 Jul 45, quoted in Logistical History of 
NATOUSA-MTOUSA, pp. 380-81. 



1945; and (3) for ammunition, petroleum 
and lubricants, and other special items not 
covered in the above per man per diem 
rates. 4 " 

Thus a simple accounting procedure had 
finally been adopted, a method not as ac- 
curate, to be sure, as the item per item 
system which the War Department had 
vainly tried to enforce, but one considered 
fair enough to all concerned. Such was 
the basis on which the cost of equipping and 
maintaining the French was estimated at 
the time of the final settlement of lend- 
lease obligations. 

" International Div, Lend-Lease as of Sep- 
tember 30, 1945, II, 1212-14, MS copy in 
OCMH; Logistical History of NATOUSA- 
MTOUSA, pp. 379-81. 



CHAPTER XVII 



Agencies Handling Rearmament 



The various wheels of the machinery set 
up to initiate, implement, and supervise the 
rearming and training of the French North 
African forces have been introduced in the 
preceding chapters. The justification for 
the creation of the JRC, JAC, SCAMA, 
Stock Control Section, and French Training 
Section, the directives responsible for their 
establishment, the functions assigned to 
each, their successes or failures — all 
these matters have been related at some 
length as they arose. It remains to out- 
line briefly the composition and internal 
organization of these agencies, their re- 
spective position in the theater staff struc- 
ture, their operational practices, the tools 
at their disposal as well as those which they 
forged. 

The Joint Rearmament Committee 

Composition and Position in the 
Theater Staff Structure 

When, in early December 1942, creation 
of an agency to supervise the rearmament 
of the French North African forces was first 
envisaged, the most directly concerned 
AFHQ staff sections— namely, the G-4 
and Liaison Sections — made the following 
recommendations. The contemplated 
agency should be established as a special 
staff section of AFHQ; it should be com- 
posed of American representatives from 
G-l, G-3, G-4, the Air and Naval Sections 



of AFHQ, and of representatives from the 
French General Staff; finally, its functions 
should be so set forth as to require it to 
refer matters of policy to the Chief of Staff, 
AFHQ, for instructions, and other matters 
to the particular staff sections concerned for 
both discussion and action. 1 

These and other recommendations were 
embodied in AFHQ Staff Memorandum 
52, issued on 16 December 1942, instituting 
officially the Joint Rearmament Committee. 
The memorandum set forth in detail the re- 
sponsibilities and functions of the new 
agency. In addition it made the JRC di- 
rectly responsible to the Chief of Staff, 
AFHQ. This arrangement was of funda- 
mental importance to the committee for it 
determined the nature of its internal organ- 
ization, of its activities, and of its dealings 
with other agencies." 

That the committee had not been placed 
under the control of Liaison Section, the 
agency previously set up to serve as an in- 
termediary between AFHQ and the French, 
is not surprising. The technical nature as 
well as the scope of the assignment required 
the establishment of a separate agency with 
a permanent membership responsible for its 

1 Memo, Col Julius C. Holmes for CofS AFHQ, 
5 Dec 42, JRC 320/001 Orgn of JRC; Memo, 
Holmes for CofS AFHQ, 13 Dec 42, AFHQ 
01 00/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Fr Equip. 

- AFHQ Staff Memo 52, 16 De c 42 AFHQ 
0100/12 G-3 Div Ops Fr Equip: see |p. 25,| above. 



272 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



own internal organization. As such, it fell 
definitely into the special staff category. 3 

The JRC having no power of decision, its 
authority was limited. It managed, how- 
ever, to circumvent this intrinsic handicap 
by establishing personal friendly relations 
with outside officials and agencies most in- 
terested in its activities such as the deputy 
chief of staff, G 3, G— 4, Ordnance, and 
other technical and administrative services, 
both American and British. 4 

The eight original appointees to the com- 
mittee assembled for their first meeting on 
23 December 1 942 at the Hotel St. Georges 
in Algiers. The four U.S. members and 
the AFHQ sections they represented were 
Col. William Tudor Gardiner (G-3 and 
Air), Col. John Morrow (G-4), Capt. Jer- 
auld Wright (Naval Staff), and Maj. 
George L. Artamonoff (Ordnance). The 
four French delegates were Maj. Jean 
Morel (Army), Capt. Fernand Rebillon 
(Air), Capt. Roland de Beaumont (Army), 
and Lt. Comdr. R. Poincelet (Navy). 6 

In accordance with the 16 December 
memorandum, the senior officer represent- 
ing AFHQ, in this case Colonel Gardiner, 
took over the chairmanship of the commit- 
tee. The posts of vice chairman, executive 
secretary, and vice secretary went to Major 
Morel, Major Artamonoff, and Captain de 
Beaumont, respectively, thus giving the ap- 
pearance of a truly "joint" (in the sense of 
inter-Allied) agency. 

* Memo, R. G. Lewis for Director of Ordnance 
Svs (Br), 22 Dec 42, JRC 320/001 Orgn of JRC; 
Gen Crane and Col William S. Biddle, discussion of 
CofS Mtg, 24 Dec 42, JRC 320/001 Orgn of JRC; 
Memo, Gen Rooks for Col Gardiner, 30 Dec 42, 
AFHQ 01 00/1 2C G-3 Div Ops, Ser 623. 

'Notes from Col Artamonoff, Dec 51; Interv 
with Gen Loomis, Jun 50. 

" Min, JRC Conf, 23 Dec 42, JRC 320/001 Orgn 
of JRC; AFHQ SO 86, 26 Dec 42, copy in 
Gardiner's private files. 



Of the four U.S. members, two, Colonel 
Gardiner and Major Artamonoff, were 
destined to play a major role in the subse- 
quent activities of the committee. Colonel 
Gardiner, a pilot on loan from the Air 
Forces, was highly qualified for his new as- 
signment. His experience with military 
matters accrued from two years' service 
in World War I, during which he had 
served as interpreter because of his excel- 
lent knowledge of French. During the 
years 1929 to 1933, he had been governor 
of the State of Maine. He was to remain 
with the committee as chairman until 2 
June 1943/' Major Artamonoff, also a 
veteran of World War I, served first as ex- 
ecutive secretary, later as chairman, replac- 
ing Colonel Gardiner. His fluency in the 
French language and an excellent back- 
ground in organization and supply problems 
qualified him admirably for the discharge 
of his important functions. 7 

Membership in the JRC varied from time 
to time. Already by mid-February 1943 
there had been a number of changes. 
Colonel Morrow had been replaced by Lt. 
Col. Douglas N. Lawley. Comdr. Andre 
Stourm of the French Navy had replaced 
Commander Poincelet, who had been trans- 
ferred to other duties. Earlier, in late 
December, the advisability of appointing to 
the committee a British ordnance repre- 
sentative had been given serious consid- 

For his contribution to the success of the North 
African rearmament operations, the French awarded 
him, in July 1943, the Order of the Legion of 
Honor (Chevalier), a singularly fine gesture toward 
the United States considering that, a few months 
earlier, the American Army had awarded him the 
Silver Star for meritorious service in the course of 
the 8-10 November 1942 operations against the 
opposing French forces. 

: Order of the Legion of Honor (Chevalier) and 
Croix de Guerre (with Palm and Gold Star), 
June 1945. 



AGENCIES HANDLING REARMAMENT 



273 




MEMBERS OF THE JOINT REARMAMENT COMMITTEE, Algiers, April 
1943. Left to right: Maj. Jean Morel, Col. Clement Blanc, Capt. Roland de Beaumont, par- 
tially visible behind Col. William Tudor Gardiner, Lt. Col. George L. Artamonoff, Capt. 
Francois Re'billon, Capt. Jerauld Wright, Comdr. Andre Stourm. The officer behind Captain 
Rebillon is not identified. 



eration, since French troops then fighting in 
Tunisia were receiving equipment from 
British as well as U.S. sources. However, 
after the Casablanca Conference in January 
1943, when it became clear that the rearma- 
ment of the French Ground Forces was to be 
a wholly American commitment, the pres- 
ence of a British Army representative hardly 
seemed necessary. It became even less so 
as time went on for, with the fusion of the 
de Gaulle and Giraud forces in late July 
1943, the two British-equipped divisions 
(the 1st and 2d DFL) were re-equipped 



with American materiel. The Royal Navy, 
on the other hand, had been represented on 
the committee since January by Capt. 
Geoffrey Barnard. In practice, neither he 
nor the U.S. naval representative was a full- 
time member. They were called in only 
when naval matters had to be discussed and 
acted upon. For all practical purposes, 
therefore, the JRC could be regarded as a 
Franco-American committee with only oc- 
casional British participation. 

The position of the JRC in the theater 
staff structure was altered three times. The 



274 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



first change, which occurred on 5 June 
1943, was brought about by a number of 
important considerations. With the battle 
of Tunisia ended and the considerable 
amount of equipment brought over on the 
April convoy sorted out and distributed, the 
various Allied agencies responsible for re- 
arming the French were turning their at- 
tention to the task of developing the North 
African Army into an efficient fighting force. 
As it was anticipated that AFHQ would 
some day move from northwest Africa, 
leaving the rearmament operations the ex- 
clusive responsibility of NATOUSA, it ap- 
peared necessary to review the relationship 
of these two agencies with the French. Li- 
aison Section, AFHQ-NATOUSA, voiced 
the opinion that the time was opportune for 
centralizing under a single authority the 
handling of all French problems arising both 
within the lines of communications and in 
the forward zone. Its chief, Col. Julius C. 
Holmes, recommended that a special 
French section be set up within Liaison 
Section to handle, for both AFHQ and 
NATOUSA, all policy, organizational, and 
technical questions concerning the French 
armed forces, including rearmament. On 
the assumption (an erroneous one, as dem- 
onstrated by later developments) that the 
work of the JRC was becoming "more and 
more a routine G-4 problem," Colonel 
Holmes further recommended that the com- 
mittee be consolidated, at least for the pres- 
ent, into this proposed French section. 8 
Only part of his proposals was accepted; 
no separate section was constituted, but, on 
5 June 1943, the JRC passed under the 
control of Liaison Section. 9 

Concurrently with the transfer of JRC 

8 Memo, Holmes for CofS AFHQ, 24 May 43, 
JRC 320/001 Orgn of JRC. 

9 AFHQ Staff Memo 45, 5 Jun 43, in same file, 



from the control of the Chief of Staff, 
AFHQ, to that of Liaison Section, Colonel 
Gardiner was replaced by Lt. Col. George 
L. ArtamonofT as chairman. 10 A few weeks 
later, on 19 July, General Spalding, who 
had recently arrived in the theater to under- 
take a survey of the French supply situation, 
was appointed both chief of Liaison Section 
and chairman of the JRC, with Colonel 
ArtamonofT reverting to the post of execu- 
tive secretary of the committee. 11 

JRC's position in the staff structure un- 
derwent a second change in August 1943. 
By that time supervision by Liaison Section 
had proved inadequate. The various tasks 
performed by the committee had turned out, 
after all, to be more than G— 4 routine work. 
The technical aspects of the problems in- 
volved were unfamiliar to the members of 
Liaison Section who, in addition, were too 
busy with matters of their own. Consider- 
ing, furthermore, that the rearmament of 
the French had become an almost exclusive 
American responsibility, it appeared logical 
to transfer the committee to the jurisdiction 
of NATOUSA. Action to this effect was 
taken on 7 August 1943. 12 JRC was made 
responsible to the Deputy Theater Com- 
mander, NATOUSA, then General 
Hughes. 

The added responsibility which the JRC 
began assuming with respect to the train- 
ing and supply of the French expeditionary 
forces quickly brought about changes as 
well as increases in personnel. Chairman- 
ship changed hands once again when Gen- 
eral Loomis replaced General Spalding on 
10 October. As of 15 October, member- 

10 Colonel Gardiner was recalled to duty with the 
Air Forces. 

11 AFHQ GO 42, 19 Jul 43, in same file. 

12 NATOUSA Staff Memo 74, 7 Aug 43, in same 
file. 



AGENCIES HANDLING REARMAMENT 



275 



ship of the committee was approximately 
as follows: 

JOINT REARMAMENT COMMITTEE 

(Asterisk denotes officers who remained with the 
JRG until the end of rearmament operations in 
North Africa) 

Chairman: Brig. Gen. Harold F. Loomis* 
Executive Officer: Lt. Col. George L. 
Artamonoff ( 1 ) 

Policy Section 

U.S. Army member: Col. Ira A. Crump* (2) 
U.S. Air member: Brig. Gen. Gordon P. 
Saville (3) 

U.S. Navy member: Capt. Francis P. Old 

(4) 

Royal Navy member: Capt. Geoffrey Barnard 

(5) 

Executive Section 
(all U.S. officers) 

Lt. Col. John C. Knox* (representing FTS), 
Training 

Maj. E. S. De Long,* Quartermaster and 
Medical 

Maj. Conrad L. Christensen,* Ordnance, 

Engineer, and Chemical Warfare Service 
Maj. J. R. Quails, Ordnance 
Lt. John L. Dexter,* Engineer and Ordnance 
Lt. Atlas L. Cheek, Jr.,* Statistics 
Lt. John W. Buckley,* Training 
Lt. John S. Edmonston,* Engineer 
Lt. Gordon H. Buter,* Office Administration 
Maj. John W. Ames,* Liaison with French 
for Air 

Lt- (jg) J- Lodge, Liaison with French for 
Navy 

French Section 

Chief: Col. Jean Regnault* 

Army member: Capt. Roland de Beaumont 

.(6) 

Air member: Maj. Gilbert Mondin 
Naval member: Comdr. Andre Stourm* 
Two interpreters 

(1) Left the committee on 5 November 1943. 
Shortly after, he was transferred to the U.S. Fifth 
Army in Italy where he took over the command of 



the 53d Ordnance Group which included one 
French ordnance battalion supporting the CEF. 

(2) Replaced Colonel Artamonoff as executive 
officer on 5 November 1943. 

(3) Also c hairma n of the Joint Air Commission. 
See pp. | 203] above, [285^86] below. 

(4) Replaced Captain Wright on 7 October 
1943. Was replaced by Capt. D. D. Dupre, USN, 
in June 1944. 

(5) Replaced by Capt. M. B. Laing, RN, in 
January 1944. 

(6) Left for Italy on 1 January 1944. 

Note. — Other officers were subsequently as- 
signed to the committee. Among the French mem- 
bers so assigned, three (Maj. Plat, Lt. Rene Leh- 
man and Lt. Guy de Biran) remained to the end 
of the JRC's existence. 

The committee had now under its juris- 
diction both the French Training Section 
since the end of August and Stock Control 
Section since the beginning of October. It 
had become a sizable organization with a 
total strength of approximately 600 officers 
and men. 

The third and last change in the com- 
mittee's position in the staff structure came 
about in February 1 944. ( Charts 2 and 3 ) 
Simultaneously with the command reorgan- 
ization then effected in the theater, the JRC 
was transferred from the jurisdiction of the 
Deputy Theater Commander, NATOUSA, 
an office which had just been abolished, 
to that of the Commanding General, 
NATOUSA, now General Devers. 13 

In July, with the arrival in North Africa 
of the first elements of the Brazilian Expe- 
ditionary Force, NATOUSA directed the 
JRC to provide assistance in the training of 
these troops before their departure for Italy. 
The committee set up a Brazilian Training 
Section similar to the section organized for 
the French and placed it under the com- 
mand of Lt. Col. Robert J. Shaw, himself 

13 History of Allied Force Headquarters and 
Headquarters NATOUSA: Part Three, Decem- 
ber 1943 July 1944, Sec. 1, pp. 697-99, copy in 
OCMH. 



276 



REARMING THE FRENCH 




BRIG. GEN. HAROLD F. LOOMIS, 

center, and two of his associates of theJRC, 
Brig. Gen. Allen F. Kingman, left, chief of 
French Training Section, and Brig. Gen. Jean 
Regnault (then a Colonel), chief of French 
Section. 

an officer from French Training Section 
who had served more than a year with the 
3d DIA as its senior instructor. Such was 
the extent of the responsibility assumed by 
the JRC with regard to the Brazilian Expe- 
ditionary Force. 11 

At the end of the same month, with the 
departure of NATO USA headquarters 
from North Africa and the gradual closing 
down of U.S. installations, the chairman of 
the JRC, General Loomis, was designated 
representative of the theater commander in 
the Algiers area, as well as Commanding 
General, Headquarters, North African Dis- 
trict, the successor to NATOUSA. As this 

u Interv with Loomis, Sep 51. 



meant a broadening of the committee's re- 
sponsibilities and functions, these were re- 
defined by Headquarters, NATOUSA, on 
14 August. 15 

Meanwhile, a field echelon of the com- 
mittee ( JRC Advance ) had gone to Italy to 
assist in the last-minute preparations of the 
French units designated for Anvil and to 
keep the committee informed of the latest 
developments in this connection. 

After the launching of Anvil on 15 Au- 
gust 1944, the JRC continued to operate 
but its strength gradually decreased as its 
various activities diminished in importance. 

In late August, with Paris and a large 
part of France liberated, the French pro- 
posed and Allied authorities agreed that an 
agency to supervise the rearmament of the 
Metropolitan forces should be set up in the 
French capital. By agreement between 
Generals Eisenhower and Devers, it was de- 
cided to use for the purpose selected mem- 
bers of the personnel heretofore assigned to 
the JRC. On 9 September orders were is- 
sued directing the transfer to Supreme 
Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, 
of General Loomis and four or five officers of 
his choosing, requests for the remaining per- 
sonnel to be made after General Loomis had 
reached Paris. Leaving a rear echelon in 
North Africa, General Loomis and his party 
arrived at SHAEF on 3 October and were 
assigned for duty with Rearmament Divi- 
sion, SHAEF Mission to France, the 
successor to the JRC on the Continent. 16 

With some of its members now in Italy 

15 Headquarters, NATOUSA, AFHQ, and other 
Allied Headquarters moved to Caserta, Italy, on 20 
July 1944. Ltr AG-370.5 A-0, Hq NATOUSA, 
7 Jul 44, and Memo, NATOUSA for CG 
SOS NATOUSA, 28 Jul 44, and Staff Memo 32, 
Hq NATOUSA, 14 Aug 44, JRC 320/001 Orgn of 
JRC. 

™ Msg 12547, Loomis to JRC, 5 Oct 44, in same 
file. 



278 REARMING THE FRENCH 

Chart 3 — Internal Organization of the Joint Rearmament Committee: 1 April 1944 



Commanding General 

NATOUSA 



Chiel of Stotf 

French General Stnff 



JRC 



f 



Chairman (U. S.) 



U. S. Section 



Naval 
Subsection 



French Section 



Administration 


Statistics 


Training 


Supply 


Operations Liaison 


Section 


Section 


Section 


Section 


Section 



Liaison. 



French Training Section 

Chief (U. S.) 
2674th Rejiment, JRC 
Deputy Chief (Fr) 



Stock Control Section 



or France as part ol JRC Advance and 
some transferred to other duties, the JRC 
had, by this time, been reduced to a skele- 
ton organization. The responsibility for 
the remaining rearmament activities having 
been assigned, on 10 October, to Head- 
quarters, Communications Zone, 
NATOUSA, JRC Rear was officially dis- 
banded on 1 November, although it con- 
tinued to operate one week longer." 

French Participation 

All available organizational charts give 
an erroneous impression that the French 
enjoyed equal representation on the JRC. 

"Hq NATOUSA, GO 104, 11 Oct 44, in same 
file; Memo, Capt Graham for Loomis, 14 Nov 44, 
SHAEF Missiorr to France, Rearmt Div 320-1 
Orgn and Function of Rearmt Div. 



They did not, either in authority or in 
numbers. 

That the French representatives were 
never considered as copartners in the full- 
est sense of the term is not surprising. 
Their position reflected the fact that the 
North African army was not integrated 
with the Anglo-American military estab- 
lishment. Having neither the right to cast 
a vote nor the power to exercise control 
over U.S. or British personnel, French 
representatives could act only as liaison of- 
ficers. In addition, it seems certain that, 
had equal participation been originally 
possible, it would have been ruled out as 
inopportune on the ground that the French 
were customers, for, not producers of, war 
materiel. For this reason possibly more 
than any other, American supremacy in the 
committee was firmly established from the 



AGENCIES HANDLING REARMAMENT 



279 



outset with the provision of the 16 Decem- 
ber 1942 directive that the senior U.S. 
member of the committee was to be the 
chairman. 

Surprisingly, the French military author- 
ities themselves did not seem eager to ob- 
tain equal participation in the JRC, at 
least during the first year of its existence. 
Possibly that was because, discounting the 
value of the JRC, they were content that 
their representatives should remain with- 
out real authority. General Giraud, it will 
be recalled, had banked heavily on the 
Bethouart Military Mission, which he had 
dispatched to the United States in late 
December 1942. In the apparent belief 
that the mission would adequately repre- 
sent him in Washington, the fountain of 
all supply, and from there expedite the 
flow of rearmament materiel, he had 
tended to attach little importance to nego- 
tiations at theater level. It was his opinion, 
not an unreasonable one considering the 
limitations placed on the JRC, that it 
was little more than a liaison agency. In 
detailing officers to represent him on the 
committee, he expected them simply to in- 
terpret for the benefit of the American and 
French commands the views of each re- 
garding rearmament matters. It must be 
noted here in passing that the Military 
Mission in Washington established and sub- 
sequently maintained close relations with 
the French members of the JRC, through 
the channel of the Rearmament and Tech- 
nical Studies Section of the French Gen- 
eral Staff. 

Unequal representation on the JRC was 
made more apparent by the fact that the 
French members were, particularly during 
the first eight months, of a rank not com- 
mensurate with their responsibilities and 
duties and inferior to that of their Ameri- 



can colleagues. Possibly because of their 
aloofness toward the committee, French 
authorities were content to let the situation 
continue for some time, any change being 
made difficult by the fact that promotions 
were more or less frozen. In spite of their 
lower status, however, at no time did the 
French members feel subjected to undue 
inconvenience and embarrassment except 
possibly in their dealings with other Allied 
agencies. Within the committee, they 
were treated on the basis of function, not 
of rank. The feeling of inferiority which 
they suffered occasionally was due solely to 
the limited authority vested in them by their 
own superiors. 18 

The French Section remained small 
largely because qualified men were hard to 
find. The demands for officers with lin- 
guistic skill and technical knowledge were 
so pressing from the field and from the 
services that the section never had a chance 
to expand. Even such officers as were ap- 
pointed from time to time were subject to 
instant recall for duty elsewhere. 

Their American colleagues have spoken 
highly of Major Morel and Captain de 
Beaumont, emphasizing that, in the early 
period of the rearmament operations, these 
two officers were among the few Frenchmen 
who appeared to understand thoroughly 
the problems involved. Before the North 
African landings, Major Morel had gained 
considerable ordnance experience by serv- 
ing as assistant to General R. Poupinel then 
in charge of materiel ; in particular he had 
played an important part in the French 
efforts to hide equipment from the Axis. 
Although technically he ceased to be a mem- 
ber of the committee in August 1943, he 

18 Intervs with de Beaumont, Jul 50, Arta- 
monoff, Dec 49, Gardiner, Apr 50, and Loomis, 
Sep 51 ; Notes from Gardiner. 



280 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



continued to handle rearmament problems 
at G-4, French Headquarters. 

Before his appointment to the JRC, 
Captain de Beaumont had been called to 
Algiers on 20 November 1942 by General 
Lever to serve as assistant in charge of re- 
armament. Considering that he remained 
at JRC's headquarters, whereas his col- 
league Morel operated largely from G-4, 
French Headquarters, it can be said of Cap- 
tain de Beaumont that he assumed the 
greater part of the burden of representing 
the French High Command at JRC, a task 
which he appears to have filled with com- 
plete satisfaction. He was relieved of this 
responsibility at the time of the appointment 
of his successor in August 1943, but he con- 
tinued to serve on the committee in a differ- 
ent capacity until January 1944 when, at 
his request, he was transferred to active 
service with the CEF in Italy. 

The work of both Major Morel and Cap- 
tain de Beaumont was immensely facilitated 
by the cordial relations established early be- 
tween the JRC and members of the French 
General Staff, Col. Clement Blanc in par- 
ticular. The latter, then serving as both 
G— 1 and G— 4, although not a member de 
jure of the committee, kept in constant 
touch with it. His frequent ex officio pres- 
ence at JRC meetings, which he attended at 
the invitation of the American members, 
and his informal, almost daily contacts with 
the various members of the committee, made 
it possible for much constructive action to be 
taken which otherwise would have been de- 
layed because of the lack of authority vested 
in the French members. At one time a 
classmate of General Loomis at the Ecole de 
Guerre, Colonel Blanc was highly esteemed 
by American rearmament officers who re- 
garded him as the top French authority in 
the field of equipment and training. He 



was promoted to the rank of brigadier gen- 
eral in April 1944. By then his superior, 
General Leyer, Chief of GeneTal Staff, had 
delegated much of his authority to him in 
dealing with Allied staffs. 

The arrangement by which the chairman 
of the JRC or his representative directly 
approached Colonel Blanc or General Leyer 
worked admirably. It was maintained 
even after the CFLN vainly attempted to 
vest in the Commissioner of War the respon- 
sibility for handling rearmament problems. 
Both General Leyer and Colonel Blanc con- 
tinued to work closely with the JRC to the 
very end of the North African rearmament 
operations. Another French official, Mr. 
Jean Monnet, contributed much to the good 
relations between the French and the JRC. 
The MAB, it will be recalled, had ar- 
ranged for his dispatch from Washington to 
North Africa in early 1943 to assist General 
Giraud on financial and armament matters. 

By the summer of 1943 the French mili- 
tary authorities had come to recognize in 
the JRC the only effective machinery 
through which their demands could be met. 
Feeling the need for more substantial rep- 
resentation on the committee, they ap- 
pointed on 1 3 August a higher-ranking offi- 
cer, Col. Jean Regnault, to the post of chief 
of the French Section, held until then by 
Major Morel. 

Colonel Regnault's appointment proved 
to be a most fortunate one. A combat offi- 
cer who, a few months before, was leading 
an infantry regiment in Tunisia, he had had 
no prior training in armament matters. 
Yet, thanks to his qualities of adaptability 
and open-mindedness, his thoroughness in 
handling technical details, an excellent 
knowledge of English, and a genuine friend- 
ship for Americans, he soon succeeded in 
strengthening further the co-operation be- 



AGENCIES HANDLING REARMAMENT 



281 



tween the French and American elements of 
the JRC, and between the latter and the 
French General Staff. 19 

It must be noted that the amount of au- 
thority vested in Colonel Regnault other 
than the power which his rank carried did 
not exceed that enjoyed by his predecessors. 
Officers of the French High Command con- 
tinued to feel that, as long as the aim and 
scope of the rearmament program were 
still to be determined, they alone could ef- 
fectively deal with such matters. Mean- 
while, the American position with respect 
to French participation in the committee re- 
mained unchanged. 

Together with the French officers subse- 
quently appointed to assist him, such as Lt. 
Rene Lehman who displayed an especially 
keen understanding of rearmament prob- 
lems, Colonel Regnault carried out the 
duties assigned to the French Section with 
the utmost efficiency. He remained with 
the JRC until its disbandment in September 
1944. He was then transferred to Paris to 
occupy a similar post in the newly created 
Rearmament Division of SHAEF Mission 
to France. 20 

Internal Organization 

From the moment it was activated, the 
JRC was left free to develop its own struc- 
ture. 21 During the initial phase, little inter- 
nal organization was needed. The com- 
mittee was then devoting its entire attention 
to the emergency provision of equipment to 
the units engaged in Tunisia. Not that the 
16 December directive establishing the com- 

"' Interv with Loomis, Sep 51. 

M ' Just before his transfer to Paris, Colonel Reg- 
nault was awarded the Legion of Merit with the 
rank of Officer. 

= ' Memo for Red, JRC, 27 Dec 42, JRC 320/001 
Orgn of JRC. 



mittee restricted the latter's functions to 
such duty. On the contrary, the directive 
specifically empowered the JRC, in addi- 
tion, to develop an over-all rearmament 
program. The French members had 
brought with them such a program based on 
the Mast Plan. Their American colleagues, 
however, had come with "no plan at all, 
merely an idea of rearmament," 22 In the 
absence of clear instructions from AFHQ 
as to what a program should consist of and 
as to how far the Allied command was pre- 
pared to go, the U.S. members strongly felt 
that the committee's most immediate task 
was to assist the units in Tunisia in getting 
the equipment they needed so urgently. 
They maintained this position even after the 
Casablanca Conference, pending the receipt 
of definite instructions regarding the long- 
range program. During this entire stopgap 
period the members worked as a group, each 
specializing in one particular field and the 
executive secretary keeping the necessary 
records and statistics. 

It was when the French submitted their 
first requisitions, in the spring of 1943, that 
the question of the division of responsibility 
arose which soon led to a functional organi- 
zation of the committee. The requisitions, 
before being transmitted to the responsible 
AFHQ staff sections, required considerable 
processing and redrafting, for the French, 
unfamiliar with the U.S. classification sys- 
tem and tables of organization and equip- 
ment, or with technical nomenclature in 
English, were submitting them according to 
their own classification system and in their 
own language. To present these requests in 
proper form, the JRC obtained the assign- 
ment of several assistants qualified in arma- 
ment matters. The requests were screened 

" Intervs with ArtamonofT, Dec 49, and Gardiner, 
Apr 50. 



282 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



and broken down according to service and 
type of item, then translated into English. 

As the scope of its activities increased, the 
JRC secured other assistants whose duty it 
became to disseminate technical informa- 
tion to the French, supervise the delivery to 
them of equipment, and establish liaison 
with the several AFHQ staff sections in- 
volved in the rearmament operations. 

Soon the JRC began grouping these as- 
sistants into sections. The Statistics Sec- 
tion collected and assimilated information 
on the amount of materiel furnished. The 
Administration Section handled reports and 
correspondence passing through the U.S. 
members of the committee. The Opera- 
tions Liaison Section controlled all liaison 
matters with the French. 

The successive transfers of the JRC, first 
to the control of Liaison Section, AFHQ, in 
June 1943 and later to that of NATOUSA 
in August of the same year, brought no sub- 
stantial changes in internal organization. 
In the fall of 1943, however, as the com- 
mittee became involved with the supply, 
maintenance, and training of the first ex- 
peditionary units about to depart for com- 
bat overseas, the number of sections had to 
be increased. The Supply Section was cre- 
ated to handle technical matters pertaining 
to all services and to act as liaison with the 
Stock Control Section when the latter 
passed under the control of the committee. 
Similarly, when the JRC extended its juris- 
diction over the French Training Section, a 
special Training Section was set up to act 
as intermediary. 

By February 1944, the beginning of the 
fourth and last phase of the North Afri- 
can rearmament program, the Joint Re- 
armament Committee had reached its full 
growth. Its internal organization, estab- 
lished piecemeal as conditions had war- 



ranted, was now completed. It must be 
noted that, with the creation of the Joint 
Air Commission in September 1943, the 
committee was no longer concerned with 
air matters except in the case of items of 
equipment common to both air and ground 
forces. It was, on the other hand, still 
handling a number of problems arising in 
connection with the rehabilitation of the 
French Navy. The three naval repre- 
sentatives were responsible for initiating 
plans for miscellaneous projects, and for 
screening requests for new ships, major 
overhaul of ships, and increases in arma- 
ment. Other naval matters were handled 
through other theater channels. 

Operating Procedures 

In order to achieve maximum efficiency 
and to keep abreast of the changing situa- 
tion, JRC, from the outset, adopted, 
flexible methods of work. Most of the 
business at hand was handled through 
individual action, and only a few formal 
plenary meetings were held. 

During the stopgap period, no system 
existed that would provide the committee 
with accurate information on what equip- 
ment the French needed most and on what 
could be made available to them from Al- 
lied sources. For lack of such a system, 
the committee as a whole agreed that indi- 
vidual members should, whenever possible, 
go after this information, using their own 
devices and means. 

A few isolated examples, gleaned at ran- 
dom, are given of this individual effort to 
"go and get things done." Early in Jan- 
uary 1943, two members, Major Artam- 
onofT and Captain de Beaumont, visited 
the units engaged on the Tunisian front to 
determine for themselves what items of 



AGENCIES HANDLING REARMAMENT 



283 



equipment were most urgently needed. 
Meanwhile, the chairman discussed with 
U.S., British, and French officials the pos- 
sible emergency release of equipment. 
During the winter months, various mem- 
bers toured Allied agencies and establish- 
ments throughout northwest Africa with a 
view to locating materiel likely to be of use 
to the French. Some of these trips were 
made by air, the necessary aircraft being 
borrowed for the purpose from American 
or even French sources. 

In April, when arrangements were be- 
ing made with Colonel Suttles for the setting 
up of the vehicle assembly line at Algiers, 
the chairman again borrowed an airplane 
from the Northwest African Troop Carrier 
Command and flew to Rabat to pick up an 
advance party of twenty mechanics from 
the U.S. 2d Armored Division for employ- 
ment on the new project. 23 

Later, after the fall of Tunis in May, the 
chairman rushed to Tunisia to survey the 
availability of captured enemy equipment. 
The venture, incidentally, proved un- 
profitable, for what little materiel the Ger- 
mans had not destroyed the theater planned 
to distribute not only to the French but to 
other Allied forces as well. It was also 
through individual action that the necessary 
technical troops were gradually secured and 
assigned for duty with the JRC. When he 
learned of a surplus of French-speaking 
G-2 officers at General Patton's headquar- 
ters in Casablanca, Colonel Gardiner im- 
mediately approached the responsible 
authorities and obtained the assignment of 
two. 24 

After the cessation of hostilities in 
Tunisia, the committee faced a multitude 

2S Statement in Notes on Fr Rearmt by Gard- 
iner, 10 Apr 50, copy in OCMH files. 
2< Ibid. 



of new problems arising from the imple- 
mentation of the long-range rearmament 
program. It was then that Colonel Artam- 
onoff conducted a survey of French ord- 
nance units to determine how they were 
handling their newly acquired equipment. 
Without such information no sound reha- 
bilitation program could be pursued. 
Later, in August, when the French Train- 
ing Section passed under the operational 
control of the committee, its chief, General 
Kingman, undertook at JRC's request to 
inspect certain units and report on the com- 
pleteness of their equipment and training. 
Thus the committee was able to inform with 
accuracy both French and Allied commands 
on the state of readiness and the degree of 
efficiency of these units. 

Again, when in the late summer of 1943 
it became obvious that the French supply 
system was totally inadequate, the JRC in- 
structed a special party headed by Colonel 
Geraghty to make a thorough investigation 
of the situation. Colonel Geraghty's re- 
port, it will be remembered, led to the estab- 
lishment of Stock Control Section, the 
agency which so successfully assisted the 
French in overhauling their supply system. 

Although the committee was not empow- 
ered to make decisions affecting policy, its 
members, especially the chairman and the 
executive secretary, frequently participated 
in conferences, some called at their own ini- 
tiative, with representatives from the policy- 
making echelons. It was at such a con- 
ference held at the end of March 1943 in the 
office of the Deputy Theater Commander, 
NATOUSA, that the chairman discussed 
with General Clark the advisability of bring- 
ing the Fifth Army into the rearmament 
picture, as well as the procedure to be fol- 
lowed in case this was done. Conferences 
were also held with staff sections or indi- 



284 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



viduals of the French High Command. On 
31 March Colonel Artamonoff discussed 
with General Leyer and Colonel Blanc plans 
for the forthcoming reception of the first 
large-scale shipment. Two days earlier 
Colonel Gardiner, together with other Allied 
officials including Brig, Gen. William F. 
Tompkins from Operations Division, had 
examined the problem with General Giraud, 
General Leyer, and Mr. Monnet. Meetings 
with the French were for the most part 
informal and, as already stated, held as 
often as necessary. 25 

To deal effectively with the more techni- 
cal problems, the JRC frequently borrowed 
civilian and military experts from other 
headquarters. One of the first experts to 
be called in was Lt. Col. Howard J. Lowry. 
Because of his thorough knowledge of en- 
emy equipment, he was assigned to the JRC 
from May to October 1943 for the purpose 
of handling the various problems connected 
with the transfer of such equipment to the 
French. 2 " Civilian technicians on loan 
from American industrial plants gave the 
JRC the benefit of their firsthand knowl- 
edge of U.S. equipment. They conducted 
inspections of French base shops and main- 
tenance and combat units, and reported to 
the JRC the degree of technical efficiency 
of these units. In addition, they organized 
classes for the benefit of French personnel 
in which they taught the correct use and 
maintenance of American equipment, espe- 
cially vehicles. Among the civilian techni- 
cal observers called upon to assist the JRC 
were William E. Burnett and Charles F. 

35 Memtr, Hughes for Clark, 26 Mar 43, AFHQ 
0100/12C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt; Memo, 
Artamonoff for CofS SOS NATOUSA, 1 Apr 43, 
JRC 902/11 Rearmt Plan; Weekly Rpt No. 1, 
JRC, 27 Mar 43, AFHQ 0100/26 Liaison Sec 
319.1/1 (Fr-B) Ser 93. 

* SO 99, Hq NATOUSA, 15 May 43, JRC 210.3 
Assignment and Transfer of Officers. 



Dye, Jr., representing respectively the Cad- 
illac Motor Car and the Fisher Tank Divi- 
sions of General Motors, and Thomas A. 
Demetry of the Chrysler Tank Corpora- 
tion. 27 

A word should be said about the reports 
issued by the JRC. When the initial allo- 
cations of materiel arrived in North Africa 
at the end of January 1943, AFHQ directed 
the JRC to maintain an up-to-date schedule 
showing how the French authorities were 
assigning the items received and how they 
intended to make future assignments. 28 
The committee then began issuing a semi- 
monthly report to keep the Chief of Staff, 
AFHQ, informed of the quantity of mate- 
riel turned over to the French in response to 
emergency and training requirements. Si- 
multaneously the JRC issued a weekly rec- 
ord of its day-to-day activities. With the 
arrival of the first large-scale convoy in 
April, the semimonthly report was replaced 
by a progress report designed especially to 
give accurate information regarding the dis- 
tribution of equipment among units. This 
information was obtained largely through 
personal contact with the French General 
Staff, through visits to units by either regu- 
lar JRC members or temporarily attached 
personnel, and through the exchange of 
communications between the JRC and 
Colonel Blanc. It included valuable data 
on the equipment status of units, reasons for 
delaying their rearmament, changes in ta- 
bles of organization and equipment as ef- 
fected by the French, exact tonnage of 
equipment arriving on the various convoys, 
and so forth. Copies of the progress report 
were sent to the responsible AFHQ staff sec- 
tions including the chief of staff himself, 

27 JRC 353/001 Training Rpts, Tech Observers. 

28 AFHQ Ltr AG 400/322 A. M., 31 Jan 43, 
AFHQ 01 00/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt. 



AGENCIES HANDLING REARMAMENT 



285 



NATOUSA headquarters, American and 
British Ordnance Sections, the U.S. Fifth 
Army, and the lend-lease representatives in 
the theater. The last of such reports was 
issued in September 1943. 

There is no question of attributing to the 
JRC the entire credit for the success of the 
rehabilitation of the French North African 
forces. The role played by other Allied 
agencies cannot be minimized, nor can the 
impressive achievements on the part of the 
French themselves in setting up an arma- 
ment machinery of their own be underesti- 
mated. In addition to establishing 
SCAMA, the French High Command or- 
ganized two special staff sections to deal 
with rearmament problems. The first of 
these was the Rearmament and Technical 
Studies Section, headed by Lt. Col. Charles 
Chanson. This section, with the assistance 
of 1st and 2d Bureaux (G-l and G-2) and 
under the general direction of Colonel 
Blanc, prepared the over-all rearmament 
programs and determined the composition 
of the successive phases, as well as the gen- 
eral plans of distribution of equipment. 
The other section was the Poste de Statis- 
tique, created in March 1943 for the pur- 
pose of working out the details for the dis- 
tribution of U.S. equipment to the units 
designated for activation in first priority. 29 

Yet there is little doubt that the JRC did 
represent the driving force which rallied 
and co-ordinated all individual efforts and 
guided them to a sound and fruitful accom- 
plishment. It is likely that when they first 
met in December 1942 the original mem- 
bers of the committee did not grasp the full 
significance of the undertaking they were 
embarking upon, or foresee the scope of the 

~° Marey, "Le Rearmement fran?ais en Afrique 
du Nord (1942-1944)," Revue Politique et Par- 
lementaire (November, 1947), pp. 139-40. 



task that lay ahead. Neither could they 
visualize the ultimate, impressive results 
of the rearmament operations. From a 
stopgap committee with no plan but only 
an idea, the JRC, in spite of its limitations, 
had become in early 1944 a real power ex- 
tending its arm into many fields of en- 
deavor. Together with the other related 
rearmament agencies, it had built up an 
efficient and indispensable machinery ready 
to undertake and, as later events amply 
proved, quite able to effect the final forg- 
ing of the North African forces. Both the 
French and the Americans would long be 
grateful to the JRC for the major role it had 
played in making it possible for these forces 
to assume their rightful share of the strug- 
gle against the common foe and, inci- 
dentally, in strengthening Franco-Ameri- 
can friendship. They would also, in the 
fall of 1944, draw from the record of its 
experience valuable lessons on which to 
base their plans for the second chapter, 
then opening, in the rehabilitation of the 
French forces in World War II: the re- 
armament of the Metropolitan forces. 

The Joint Air Commission 

Shortly after he was appointed Air mem- 
ber of the Joint Rearmament Committee on 
24 August 1943, General Saville, Chief of 
Staff, Mediterranean Air Command, came 
to recognize two important points. First, 
the establishment of a separate committee 
to handle French air matters independently 
of the JRC must be expedited. Such a 
committee, in fact, was already in process 
of organization. 30 Second, sufficient au- 
thority must be vested in the air committee 
to enable it to function from the start with 
the maximum efficiency. To ensure that 

M See |p. 202J above. 



286 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



the agency when established would enjoy 
such authority, General Eaker, Command- 
ing General, Mediterranean Air Command, 
decided to make its relationship with his 
own command the closest possible one. 
Consequently, he delegated his chief of staff, 
General Saville, to represent Mediterran- 
ean Air Command on the Joint Air Com- 
mission when the latter was officially estab- 
lished on 6 September 1943. 31 No better 
kinship between the two organizations could 
have been devised. The assignment of a 
key staff officer to a staff section would, as 
later events amply proved, make for effici- 
ency and speed in the carrying out of 
important business. 

JAC's position in the staff structure re- 
mained unchanged throughout the commis- 
sion's existence. When, in mid-January 
1944, Mediterranean Air Command and 
Northwest African Air Forces were jointly 
replaced by Mediterranean Allied Air 
Forces, the JAC merely passed under the 
control of the latter. 

The orders establishing the JAC had stip- 
ulated that it was to be composed of three 
air officers: one American, as chairman, 
one British, and one French. Initially, the 
three members were General Saville, chair- 
man, Col. Andre Hartemann, representing 
the French Air Force, and Group Capt. J. 
Rock de Besombes, representing the Royal 
Air Force. The French and British mem- 
bership remained unchanged throughout 
the commission's existence. General 
Saville left the JAC on 3 January 1944, to 
assume the command of XII Tactical Air 
Command, and turned the chairmanship 
over to Brig. Gen. Patrick W. Timberlake 
who incidentally had already succeeded him 
as Chief of Staff, Mediterranean Air Com- 

31 GO 9, Hq Mediterranean Air Comd, 6 Sep 
43, JRC 360/001 Air Force Rearmt. 



mand, three months earlier. General Tim- 
berlake remained on the commission only 
one month, until 9 February when he was 
replaced by Colonel Gardiner. 32 After two 
requests for Colonel Gardiner's services 
with G—5, SHAEF, in London, Generals 
Eaker and Devers consented in mid-April 
1944 to relieve him but only after he had 
indoctrinated Colonel Ervin, who had 
come from the United Kingdom with Gen- 
eral Eaker and was to become the fourth 
and last chairman of the JAC. Colonel 
Ervin officially replaced Colonel Gardiner 
on 4 May 1944 and remained on the com- 
mission up to its disbandment in September 
1944. 33 

Assisting the JAC was, initially, one sec- 
retary whose duty it was to prepare action 
on the basis of agreements reached by the 
three members. The first officer to serve in 
that capacity was Flight Lt. A. L. W. R. 
Henry (RAF) , himself a staff officer of the 
Establishment Section of the Mediterranean 
Air Command. He was replaced, in No- 
vember 1943, by Lt. Paul C. Sheeline 
(U.S. ) who remained on the commission to 
the end of its operations. For several 
months it was felt that nothing more than 
the one-man executive staff was required. 
When in need of assistance, the chairman 
merely drew from personnel resources avail- 
able to Mediterranean Air Command. 
Thus American and British instructors, 
liaison officers, and technicians were as- 
signed, from time to time, to the French Air 
Force. As JAC's activities increased, espe- 
cially in the spring of 1 944, it was deemed 
necessary to enlarge the executive staff. At 
the time of the dissolution of the commis- 



as Since his departure from the JRC, Colonel 
Gardiner had been serving as A-2 with the 51st 
Troop Carrier Wing in Sicily. 

33 Statements in Notes on Rearmt of FAF by 
Gardiner, 6 Jul 51, copy in OCMH. 



AGENCIES HANDLING REARMAMENT 



287 



sion, the staff had reached a strength of 
eleven officers and enlisted men, Americans 
for the most part. Meanwhile the practice 
of using personnel from MAAF as instruc- 
tors and technicians had continued. 

The wide scope of the activities carried 
out by the JAC can be best estimated by 
examining the journal kept by one of the 
chairmen. 34 In the field of training, they 
covered such problems as the allocation of 
training planes, material assistance and 
visits to training centers, the sending of 
pilots and mechanics to schools in the 
United States. In the field of supply, JAC 
handled such questions as the issue of post 
exchange items, the issue of the Norden 
bombsight, the inadequacy of the food ra- 
tion, at one time reported to be a factor in 
the high rate of accidents, the supply of 
equipment to the Naval Air Arm. 
Among the administrative problems han- 
dled by the JAC were the operational as- 
signment of squadrons, the assignment of 
U.S. liaison officers to FAF units and of 
French staff officers to Allied air com- 
mands, finally, the advisability of making 
available to the French the air intelligence 
weekly summaries. 35 

In the course of their meetings which they 
held at regular intervals, the three members 
of the commission, having obtained before- 
hand the views of their respective com- 
mands, discussed the plans to be established 
or the measures to be taken. As each mem- 
ber enjoyed the double advantage of having 
the full confidence of his two colleagues and 
sufficient authority from his own superiors, 
the JAC as a whole could reach decisions 



" Gardiner, Journal, 9 Feb-4 May 44, in Gar- 
diner's private files. 

35 The British appear to have objected strongly 
to making these reports available to the French. 
At the insistence of the Americans, they finally 
relented. 



promptly and take proper action without 
having to refer constantly to higher com- 
mand echelons. In this connection, the 
American member was in a most enviable 
position. General Saville, as well as his 
successor General Timberlake, could, by 
virtue of the fact that they served in the dual 
capacity of Chief of Staff, Mediterranean 
Air Command, and chairman of the JAC, 
obtain the speedy implementation of the de- 
cisions reached by the commission. For 
them it was merely a matter of "picking 
up one's hat in one place and putting it 
down in another." 36 The pattern was some- 
what altered with the arrival of Colonel 
Gardiner. But the latter immediately es- 
tablished the policy, in agreement with Brig. 
Gen. Charles C. Chauncey, the new Chief 
of Staff, Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, 
that the JAC would have authority to make 
all minor decisions, submitting for approval 
matters of importance or affecting policy. 17 
With the last chairman, Colonel Ervin, who 
directly represented General Eaker on the 
commission and therefore enjoyed fuller au- 
thority than his predecessor, the original 
pattern was re-established. 

In contrast with his compatriots on the 
JRC, the French member of the JAC was 
in a most favorable position. He enjoyed 
a considerable degree of authority, for Gen- 
eral Bouscat, Chief of Staff, FAF, had made 
him his personal representative on the JAC 
with full power to speak for him. As a 
result, his American and British colleagues 
regarded him as a partner member of equal 
standing. Yet it would be inaccurate to 
describe the commission as being entirely 
tripartite in character, for policy matters 
remained an exclusive Anglo-American 
responsibility. When such matters needed 

M Interv with Saville, Jul 51. 

"Statement in Corres from Col Gardiner, 1951. 



288 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



to be cleared with higher French author- 
ities, they were brought directly to the 
attention of General Bouscat who, fre- 
quently, was invited to come and present his 
views in person before the commission. 
The bonds of friendship established early 
between him and the members of the JAC 
made possible the speedy conclusion of 
agreements. The co-operation which the 
French Chief of Air Staff extended so will- 
ingly proved especially useful in the initial 
period. After three days of frank and 
thorough discussions regarding the capabil- 
ities and needs of the FAF, Generals 
Saville and Bouscat came to a complete 
understanding as to the goal to be achieved : 
"not a lot of squadrons but an efficient air 
force." 38 This meeting of minds between 
the two Chiefs of Staff, each stating freely 
what his respective command was in a posi- 
tion to contribute, got the JAC off to an 
excellent start. 

Relations between General Bouscat and 
General Saville's successors continued on 
the same cordial and fruitful plane. By 
the time of Colonel Ervin's chairmanship, 
collaboration between French air command 
and JAC was so firmly established that the 
commission could reach most decisions on 
Colonel Hartemann's sole recommenda- 
tions without further reference to General 
Bouscat. The several American members 
consulted since the war on the matter have 
highly commended the manner in which 
Colonel Hartemann acquitted himself of 
his functions. Likewise they have been 
unanimous in their praise of the co-operative 
spirit displayed by all responsible French 
air authorities. 39 Within the commission 
itself, perfect teamwork on the part of men 

38 Interv with Saville, Jul 51. 

" Intervs with Saville and Ervin, Jul 51; Corres 
from Gardiner, 1951. 



naturally endowed with widely divergent 
national idiosyncrasies and representing 
three different air forces resulted in greater 
efficiency and prevented dissipation of ef- 
fort. 

Co-operation with the JRC was estab- 
lished from the outset. This was essential 
considering the role which the JRC 
was expected to play in relation to the 
JAC. With the JRC rested the responsi- 
bility for ensuring the shipment from the 
United States of the air equipment ordered 
by the JAC, and for requisitioning all 
items common to air and ground forces 
requested by the commission. The neces- 
sary co-operation was achieved simply by 
making the chairman of the JAC the ex 
officio air member of the JRC. Co-oper- 
ation was further strengthened by the fact 
that the JRC liaison officer with the French 
Air Force, Maj. John W. Ames — who, inci- 
dentally, had a desk at General Bouscat's 
headquarters — also worked closely with the 
JAC. 

SCAM A and Stock Control Section 

Both SCAMA and Stock Control Sec- 
tion, JRC, worked toward the same goal, 
the establishment of a French central sup- 
ply authority similar to the American SOS. 
It is fitting therefore that, after a brief 
study of the organization and evolution of 
each, an account be given of their common 
operating procedures. 10 

Organization of SCAMA 

In establishing SCAMA the directive of 
15 October 1943 made the agency directly 

* For the background of their establishment 
and an account of their achievements, see pp. 
|1 32-38| |174-76| , above. 



290 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



responsible to 4e Bureau (G-4) of the 
French General Staff. In this manner 
SCAMA was to enjoy a status equal to that 
of the services. Its high position in the 
chain of command was expected to enable 
it to deal authoritatively with other agen- 
cies. Such would have been the case had 
the services extended their full co-oper- 
ation. As pointed out earlier, it was not 
until SCAMA's authority had been 
redefined in stronger terms, especially by 
the 9 January 1944 directive, that the 
necessary co-operation was gradually 
effected. 41 

The 9 January 1944 directive also pre- 
scribed the internal organization of 
SCAMA, although, by a curious contra- 
diction, it empowered the director to set 
forth its composition, internal co-ordina- 
tion, and functioning. 42 The director, 
Col. Emile Charpentier, himself ap- 
pointed by General Leyer, had no alter- 
native but to follow the pattern established 
in the directive. 

When its organization was completed, 
SCAMA include d a centr al agency and 
field echelons. ( \Chart 4\ ) At the head 
of the entire system was the director, sta- 
tioned in the headquarters of the central 
agency set up in Oran in proximity with 
SOS, NATOUSA. The central agency 
was composed of a clerical staff, a co- 
ordinating group, four bureaus whose 
functions corresponded approximately to 
those of a general staff in the American 
Army, and five sections each representing 
one of the French services, namely, Ord- 
nance, Engineers, Medical, Signal, and 
Quartermaster. A sixth section was 



eventually added to handle air matters. 
Also considered operationally part of the 
central agency was the Stock Control 
Section. 

The field echelons comprised the mili- 
tary bases in the ports of embarkation and 
debarkation, a liaison detachment with 
SOS, a mobile group for technical liaison 
with depots and warehouses, and various 
representatives with the services and the 
General Staff. Over all of these echelons 
SCAMA had exclusive authority. In 
addition its jurisdiction extended, but only 
insofar as the movement of materiel and 
supplies and the keeping of records were 
concerned, to all service establishments. 

Thanks to this intricate but necessary 
organization, SCAMA was able to keep 
a finger on the pulse of the entire French 
supply system. 

Organization of Stock 
Control Section 

Stock Control Section, JRC, was organ- 
ized on 5 November 1943 under the com- 
mand of Colonel Geraghty. 43 As SOS, 
NATOUSA, had given him no instructions 
as to what specific duties his section was to 
fulfill, Colonel Geraghty merely set out 
to meet problems as they were presented 
by the French and to "assume responsibili- 
ties growing out of these problems as a 
matter of course." 44 

When he had recruited enough special- 
ists to begin operations, Colonel Geraghty 
organized them into five branches corre- 
sponding to the five sections of SCAMA — 



" See lp 137) above. 

"Dir 3751-3 EMGG/4, 15 Oct 43; Dir 5499-3 
EMGG/4, 25 Nov 43; Dir 340 EMGG/9, 9 Jan 
44, JRC 400.2/002 Stock Control Section. 



** Unless otherwise indicated, this section is 
based upon Col Michael Geraghty, The History 
of the Stock Control Section, JRC, copy in JRC 
Files. 

** Memo, Geraghty for Larkin, 8 Jul 44, 
JRC 400.2/002 Stock Control System, SCAMA. 



AGENCIES HANDLING REARMAMENT 



291 



Engineer, Ordnance, Medical, Signal, and 
Quartermaster. Each branch was then 
subdivided into four groups — requisition, 
stock control, technical, and warehousing. 
Assisting the commanding officer was an 
executive officer and the Administrative 
Branch. Close liaison with the JRC was 
maintained through Colonel Crump, a 
member of the committee. 

Finding sufficient trained personnel 
constituted one of the major problems fac- 
ing Colonel Geraghty. During the first 
four months his section hardly increased in 
numerical strength because U.S. Army re- 
placement depots could furnish few officers 
and enlisted men with adequate supply 
experience. It was not until February 
1944, with the arrival from the United 
States of a substantial number of personnel 
dispatched at the request of Colonel Ger- 
aghty, that the situation began to improve. 
Eventually the section grew to a strength 
of some 50 officers and 100 enlisted men. 45 

Another major difficulty confronting the 
section was its inability, in spite of repeated 
efforts, to secure official status and to obtain 
a table of organization. For this reason 
the officers and men employed by the sec- 
tion were "loaned" from replacement cen- 
ters and placed on detached service with, 
or assigned as overstrength to, French 
Training Section, or more accurately, 
2674th Headquarters Company, JRC 
(Provisional). They were attached to the 
service company of Mediterranean Base 
Section for rations and quarters, with the 
understanding, however, that they were to 
be employed by Stock Control Section. 
Lack of official recognition made each ad- 
ministrative detail a major problem for the 
solution of which various commands had to 
be approached. The section found it par- 

1S Ibid. 



ticularly difficult to obtain the vehicles 
which it needed to carry out its duties. 
Thus efficiency and progress were frequently 
retarded. 

The function of the officers and men of 
each of the five technical branches was to 
assist their French counterparts in SCAM A 
by imparting to them their knowledge of 
supply. This method of placing U.S. per- 
sonnel side by side with corresponding 
French personnel proved to be the most ad- 
vantageous way of giving maximum on- 
the-spot assistance and advice to the French. 
In spite of its inherent limitations, Stock 
Control Section succeeded in reaching its 
goal. There is little doubt that without its 
fine performance, the "SCAMA system" 
might well never have been firmly estab- 
lished. 

Stock Control Section ceased to function 
in late July 1944. 

Operating Procedures 

SCAMA and Stock Control Section fol- 
lowed three basic principles in carrying out 
their operations. These principles, which 
corresponded to three major goals to be 
reached, were embodied in Colonel Char- 
pentier's operational instruction dated 26 
January 1944. 46 

First, and to quote from the instruction, 
all records maintained by SCAMA were to 
be based on the actual existence of stocks in 
warehouses. To apply this principle re- 
quired that a complete physical inventory 
be conducted of all materiel and supplies 
in French hands. As already stated, such 
an inventory proved impracticable for many 
months owing especially to lack of sufficient 

40 Gen Instruction on Functioning of SCAMA, 
26 Jan 44, in Geraghty, History of Stock Control 
Section, App B, JRC Files. 



292 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



trained personnel in French establishments. 
In fact it did not take place until 15 May 
1 944. Only then did SCAM A have, for the 
first time, a fairly complete and accurate 
picture of stocks on hand throughout North 
Africa. 

Second, a "common language" had to 
be established. The 26 January instruc- 
tion itself provided a number of definitions 
for words currently used in French and 
American services. This was a welcome 
step, for misunderstandings had frequently 
resulted from differences in French and 
American definitions of the same words. In 
using the term requisition, for instance, the 
French meant a delivery order given to a 
depot by a qualified authority, or an ap- 
proved requisition. The Americans, on the 
other hand, were using it to mean a request 
submitted by a unit within the limits of its 
rights of allowances. For this and other 
similar terms, definitions in simple and clear 
language were established once and for all. 
Thus a common technical vocabulary, in- 
cluding such English words as tally-in, 
tally-out, bin cards and French terms such 
as gestion, demande de requisition, reserve 
d'entretien, was compiled for compulsory 
use by all personnel concerned, French as 
well as American. Much later, in 1944, 
SCAMA published a complete French-Eng- 
lish technical dictionary which was made 
available throughout the various interested 
agencies and armies. 

Third, information as collected within 
the SCAMA system was to be given on con- 
venient, thoroughly understood, standard 
forms for use by all concerned. To achieve 
this objective, Colonels Geraghty and 
Charpentier first proceeded to eliminate 
some of the thirty-odd forms and cards then 
in use throughout the French services. 
They finally adopted six standard forms, 



three stock cards, and one stock identifi- 
cation tag, or ten in all. 

Obviously the common aim of these 
principles was to achieve standardization. 
To make it as nearly 100-percent complete 
as possible, Colonels Geraghty and Char- 
pentier took other steps. They agreed that 
every article, whether it be a unit contain- 
ing minor items, an assembly of various 
parts, or a part detached and considered 
separately, was to be designated by the 
American stock number and nomencla- 
ture. 47 They also prescribed a method for 
tagging and identifying U.S. equipment at 
all echelons and made its application com- 
pulsory. Finally, they issued definite in- 
structions illustrated by charts on the 
procedure for the reception and handling 
of American materiel from debarkation 
base to warehouses and on to units in process 
of re-equipping. Briefly the procedure was 
as follows. Upon the arrival of the cargo 
ship, the base commandant checked the 
French shipment against the ship's manifest, 
separated the materiel according to service, 
and forwarded it to the designated place of 
storage. He then sent a detailed report of 
this phase of his activities to SCAMA. At 
the storage plant, boxes and bales were 
turned over to the services where they were 
classified and inventoried. The entry of 
every item into magasins (warehouses) was 
recorded on a tally-in card. A bin card 
describing the item, its location, and stock 
number was then made and filed in the 
warehouse office, and a bin tag giving the 
description as well as the English and 
French name of the item was prepared for 
identification in the warehouse. A tally- 
out card was filled after an item had left 
a warehouse. All officers in charge were 
warned that periodic inspections by French 

47 Ibid. 



AGENCIES HANDLING REARMAMENT 



293 



and U.S. officers would be made to de- 
termine the accuracy of all information so 
recorded. 

As a result of the application of these vari- 
ous measures and procedures, SCAMA, in 
due time, was placed in a position where it 
had an accurate record of ( 1 ) arrivals of 
equipment at the port, (2) actual receipts 
of items in warehouses, ( 3 ) actual issues of 
items from warehouses, and (4) physical 
inventories. Thus could SCAMA fulfill 
one of its main missions, that of keeping 
the French High Command informed at all 
times of the exact status of American ma- 
teriel available in French hands. 

French Training Section 

The formal activation of French Train- 
ing Section as an agency of the U.S. Fifth 
Army occurred on 13 May 1943, concur- 
rently with the appointment of General 
Kingman as its chief. 48 The section was 
the successor to the Rearmament Advisory 
Section established earlier in April. Sta- 
tioned at first at Oudjda, French Morocco, 
FTS moved in August to Oran, Algeria, 
where General Kingman set up headquar- 
ters and remained for the following fourteen 
months." 

FTS retained close contact with the vari- 
ous agencies which, before its own activa- 
tion, had taken part in the French training 
program, such as G-3 and G— 4, AFHQ, 
SOS, NATOUSA, and to a limited extent, 
the JRC. As these agencies continued to 

"This section draws upon the JRC Files: 330/ 
001 Inspections — Misc, 330/002 Inspections by 
Gen Kingman, 330/003 Rpts of FTS, 350/001 
Training Rpts of Observers, 350/002 Training Fr 
Army Units, 350/003 (Continuation of 350/002); 
and SHAEF Mission to France, Rearmt Div Files: 
320-1 Orgn and F unction. 353-1 Training. 

w See |pp. 231~ff] , above! 



maintain an interest in certain aspects of 
the program, General Kingman reported 
frequently to them on the progress of his 
own activities. The JRC, however, grad- 
ually assumed a more extensive role of co- 
ordination and, within a short time, gave 
more attention to the activities of the FTS 
than the other agencies. General King- 
man and the JRC began working in closer 
association. They exchanged information 
on their day-to-day activities, and together 
planned the over-all training program, JRC 
often acting as intermediary between FTS 
and the French High Command. 

Soon after the distribution of the first 
substantial allocations of American equip- 
ment in May- June 1943, the JRC recog- 
nized the need of giving units immediate 
instruction in the proper use and mainte- 
nance of their newly acquired materiel. As 
the official clearinghouse for all rearma- 
ment matters, the committee felt that its 
own activities and those of FTS must be 
integrated to provide maximum assistance. 
By August, with the equipment ordered as 
part of Phase II then on its way, integration 
of JRC and FTS seemed so logical to Gen- 
eral Kingman himself that he suggested the 
transfer of his section from the control of 
Fifth Army to that of NATOUSA, and 
recommended that his personnel be made 
available for use under the general super- 
vision of the JRC. 50 General Kingman's 
proposal was accepted, and on or about 14 
August his section passed under the control 
of the JRC. Thereafter it was known of- 
ficially as the French Training Section, JRC. 

A few days later, on 25 August 1943, by 
NATOUSA order, the personnel of FTS 
was organized into the 2674th Headquar- 
ters Company, JRC (Provisional). The 

s0 Ltr, Kingman to Spalding, 9 Aug 43, JRC 
353/003 Training Fr Army Personnel. 



294 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



company, which enjoyed the unique dis- 
tinction of being commanded by a brigadier 
general, was placed under the administra- 
tive control of Headquarters, Mediter- 
ranean Base Section, and assigned for oper- 
ational duty with the JRC. Shortly after, 
in September, the personnel of Armored 
Force Detachment, which had been 
brought over in June from the Middle 
East to instruct French armored units, was 
organized into the 6704th Armored Force 
Training Company and placed under the 
administrative control first of MBS and in 
May 1944 of SOS, NATOUSA. The two 
units merged, later in the year, as the 2674th 
Regiment, JRC, the administrative unit for 
the FTS. By this time, FTS had reached a 
strength of some 50 officers and 400 en- 
listed men. Because of the highly technical 
nature of the armored force training pro- 
gram, and the fact that a large number of 
armored units were still to be trained, FTS 
underwent another change in organization 
just before the end of training operations 
in North Africa. It was split into the two 
original component organizations, namely, 
the 2674th Company, JRC, and the 6704th 
Armored Force Training Company, In 
October 1944 the two components, with a 
total strength of 643 officers and men, 
moved to Marseille. Soon after, the 2674th 
Company, JRC, was disbanded and, on 1 
November, the remaining unit was reorgan- 
ized as the 6834th Training Regiment, 
JRC. 51 

The arrangement by which FTS had 
been placed under the control of JRC was 
not designed to decrease the authority of 
the former or to subordinate it in any way 

" Much later, on 11 January 1945, the regiment, 
renamed 6834th Rearmament Regiment, served as 
the training organization for the Rearma ment Divi- 
sion, SHEAF Mission to France. See pp. l386j[387l 
below. 



to the JRC, rather to obtain the greatest 
co-operation possible between the two 
agencies. Although the chairman of the 
Joint Rearmament Committee issued orders 
to the FTS, these were usually initiated at 
the instigation and always with the complete 
concurrence of General Kingman. Liaison 
was effected by Colonel Knox who served 
as the FTS representative on the JRC. 
Colonel Knox continued in this capacity 
until the end of the North African rearma- 
ment operations. 62 Possibly because of the 
technical requirements involved and of the 
need for continuity in the program, the key 
personnel of FTS changed very little. Gen- 
eral Kingman and his American and French 
assistants carried on this assignment during 
almost the entire period. 

General Kingman's selection as director 
of FTS appears to have been due to his 
knowledge of U.S. equipment, especially 
armor, his knowledge of the French lan- 
guage and of the French Army, which he 
greatly improved while attending the Centre 
d' Etude des Chars de Combat at Versailles 
in 1923-24, and the fact that as a general 
officer he held a rank commensurate with 
the functions involved. French officers in- 
terviewed since the war have been unan- 
imous in their praise of General King- 
man's keen understanding of the training 
and material problems then facing the 
French Army, and of his ability in develop- 
ing a sound and effective program. 53 

General Kingman's deputy was Colonel 
L'Huillier of the French Army. His official 

M As a vice consul in Algiers, Colonel Knox had 
taken an active part in the secret preparations for 
the Allied landings of November 1942. 

" Intervs with L'Huillier, Tiers, Devinck, Reg- 
nault. In recognition of General Kingman's work 
in training the North African forces, the French 
Army awarded him the Order of the Legion of 
Honor (Chevalier) in September 1944. See also 
| p. 3oonJ below. 



AGENCIES HANDLING REARMAMENT 



295 



title was Chief, French Liaison Section with 
FTS. Before his appointment to that post 
on 18 August 1943, he had been assistant 
to his predecessors, Col. Raoul Bonvalot and 
later Lt. Col. Rene Preclaire, each of whom 
served only a short term. Colonel 
L'Huillier's main responsibility consisted in 
effecting the necessary spadework before 
each inspection conducted by the FTS. As- 
sisting the deputy were several French of- 
ficers, among them Lt. Claude Tiers, who 
participated in the activities of FTS from 
July 1943 to the end of the North African 
rearmament operations. 54 

The officers whom General Kingman de- 
tailed as senior advisers to the divisions con- 
tributed greatly to the success of FTS. Not 
only did their daily presence among the 
troops help the latter considerably during 
the training phase, but their gallant con- 
duct under fire, in the case of those who ac- 
companied the divisions to Italy, drew from 
the French no small degree of admiration. 
These senior advisers were: 1st DB, Capt. 
Henry Jacobson, later, Lt. Col. Everett A. 
Luckenbach; 2d DB, Maj. Robert M. 
Luminaski; 5th DB, Lt. Col. Robert W. 
Burke; 1st DMI, Lt. Col. W. C. Parnell 
(in North Africa only) and Lt. C. S. Camp- 
bell (who accompanied the Reconnaisance 
Regiment in Italy) ; 2d DIM, Lt. Col. Roy 
Stephens; 3d DIA, Lt. Col. Robert J. Shaw; 
4th DMM, Maj. Archibald W. Green; 9th 
DIC, Lt. Col. C. H. Cheatham. No ad- 
visers were attached to the Moroccan 
tabors, only teams, none of which, however, 
accompanied them to Italy. 

The success of the program instituted by 
the FTS, attested to frequently by French 
and U.S. military authorities both dur- 

■" Lieutenant Tiers was awarded the Bronze Star 
Medal in December 1945. 



ing and after World War II, is due largely 
to the manner in which the section it- 
self was organized and the way it oper- 
ated. Having sensed that the closest 
co-operation between his staff and the 
French must be effected in arranging for 
the instruction and inspection of units, Gen- 
eral Kingman resolved to make of the 
FTS a mixed French-U.S. organiza- 
tion. Not only did he see to it that the 
teams sent to inspect units were bipartite in 
nationality, but, in addition, he requested 
and obtained the assignment to the section 
of French officers and made the French 
senior officer his own deputy. This system 
had many obvious advantages. Not only 
did Colonel L'Huillier participate in the 
planning and implementation of the train- 
ing and inspection programs, thereby 
ensuring that these would be consonant 
with French capabilities and desires, but he 
was able to act as liaison between FTS and 
French unit commanders. In addition, if 
it became necessary to consult the French 
High Command before reaching a decision 
affecting policy, he could judiciously advise 
General Kingman on how best to approach 
the responsible officials, General Leyer and 
Colonel Blanc in particular. 

The responsibility for making all neces- 
sary arrangements with French command- 
ers regarding the training and inspection 
of their respective units rested largely with 
the deputy. To him also fell the task of 
preparing, on the basis of individual after- 
inspection reports submitted by the various 
teams, the synthesis which General King- 
man used for the drafting of his final report 
to the Joint Rearmament Committee. 

In June, July, and August 1944, French 
Training Section inspected nearly all 
French training establishments to deter- 
mine the degree of efficiency of the training 



296 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



program and to check on the state of pre- 
paredness of units being trained. At the 
end of August, as the North African pro- 
gram was drawing to an end and the 
French themselves were assuming the 
responsibility for the training of replace- 
ment troops, plans were made for moving 
FTS to the Continent. On 25 September 
an advance party consisting of a few officers 
and enlisted men reached Marseille. 
Another party arrived soon after, General 
Kingman meanwhile remaining in North 
Africa to instruct and inspect the last pro- 
gram units. On 8 October General King- 
man and Colonel L'Huillier left Oran for 
Marseille, turning over the supervision of 



the remaining FTS activities in North 
Africa to Col. Richard F. Fairchild. Shortly 
after his arrival in France and while at 
Headquarters, 6th Army Group, en route 
to 1st French Army, General Kingman, 
Colonel L'Huillier, and personal staff were 
ordered to Paris to establish a French 
Training Section there. The rear echelon 
commanded by Colonel Fairchild was com- 
posed of about six officers and fifteen 
enlisted men. As these men also moved 
to France on or about 15 November, all 
FTS activities ceased in North Africa. 85 



"Msg LX-46516, Larkin to CG MBS, 11 Oct 
44, JRC 320/001 Orgn of JRC. 



PART TWO 
THE METROPOLITAN FORCES 



CHAPTER XVIII 



Initial Assistance 



Even while they were supplying arms to 
the North African ground, air, and naval 
forces, Allied officials as well as the French 
High Command gave considerable attention 
to two other important logistical problems 
connected with French participation in the 
war. One was the continuance of material 
assistance to the increasing number of 
patriots engaged in subversive operations 
against the German forces occupying the 
mother country. The other was the even- 
tual provision of equipment to the forces 
likely to be raised upon the liberation of any 
part of France. 

Supplying arms to the French Resistance 
began before the North African rearma- 
ment operations and continued simultane- 
ously with them. Until the cross-Channel 
operation (Overlord), the commitment 
was largely a British one. From Overlord 
on, the United States, which by that time 
was assuming an increasing share of the 
burden, was more seriously concerned, as 
was Britain, with the larger aspect of 
the problem, namely, the equipping of 
French liberated manpower. Indeed, plans 
as formulated by SHAEF contemplated 
that, as fast as Resistance groups were 
overrun by advancing Allied armies, they 
were to be incorporated, as all other 
liberated manpower recruited for service, 
into regular Army or labor units. It ap- 
pears logical, therefore, in view of the U.S. 
role in the matter, to consider the two prob- 
lems — material assistance to the Resistance 
and provision of equipment to liberated 



manpower — as part of one single undertak- 
ing, the rearmament of the Metropolitan 
forces. 

Supply of the Resistance Forces 

Organization 

In the fall of 1940 two agencies were es- 
tablished in London for the purpose of main- 
taining in France a will to resist the enemy, 
and of providing patriots with material 
means for conducting subversive operations 
against the occupying forces. One of these 
agencies was a staff section of General de 
Gaulle's headquarters, known first as 
Service de Renseignements ( SR ) , later as 
Bureau Central de Renseignements et d' Ac- 
tion ( Militaire ) ( BCRA ) . The other was a 
British organization, known as the French 
Section of Special Operations Executive 
(SOE), the latter being responsible to the 
Ministry of Economic Warfare. 1 

Although the BCRA enjoyed a substan- 
tial measure of autonomy, it was, neverthe- 
less, entirely dependent upon SOE for 
obtaining the material means with which to 
carry out its operations. As a result the 
brunt of the task of assisting the Resistance 
rested on SOE and the other British agencies 
(the Ministry of Economic Warfare, the 
War Office, the Admiralty) upon which 
SOE itself was dependent for support. Be- 

1 The French Force s of the Interior, MS , I, 3, 
copy in OCMH. See iBibliographicalTNote] 



300 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



ginning with the spring of 1941, SOE, to- 
gether with BCRA, infiltrated into France 
British as well as British-trained French 
leaders, agents, radio operators, intelligence 
officers, and saboteurs. Most were 
dropped by parachute, although some went 
by sea. SOE also dropped such small 
amounts of equipment and supplies as were 
permitted by meager air transport facilities. 
Working in collaboration with SOE, from 
1 942 on, was a special Committee on Equip- 
ment for Patriot Forces appointed by the 
British Chiefs of Staff to consider the prob- 
lems of equipment for Resistance groups 
and liberated manpower. 

In the summer of 1942 a Special Oper- 
ations branch of the American Office of 
Strategic Services (OSS) was set up in 
London, bringing into being an American 
counterpart of SOE which, although inde- 
pendent of the British organization, 
worked in close collaboration with it. 
This co-operation led to the unification of 
the operational control of the London 
group of SOE and the Special Operations 
branch of OSS-London, and to the estab- 
lishment, during the last months of 1943, 
of a single headquarters known first as 
SOE/SO and later, on 1 May 1944, as 
Special Force Headquarters (SFHQ). 
Such activities of SOE/SO as fell within 
the sphere of the Supreme Commander for 
western Europe were placed under the op- 
erational control of his chief of staff. 2 

Determined that fuller assistance should 
be given to the French Resistance, Prime 
Minister Churchill organized, in Jan- 
uary 1944, a special informal committee 
headed by Lord Selborne, Minister of Eco- 
nomic Warfare, and composed of represent- 
atives of SOE, OSS, BCRA, and the Air 



2 SHAEF G-3 Ops C 322-7 (2 and 3) SFHQ 
Orgn and Terms of Reference. 



Ministry. The committee was instructed 
to devise ways and means of increasing the 
flow of military equipment, because airlift 
rather than availability of materiel was still 
the limiting factor in supplying Resistance 
groups. 3 

Finally, to complete the organization of 
assistance to the Resistance, a Mediter- 
ranean counterpart of SFHQ was estab- 
lished on 14 May 1944 under the name of 
Special Project Operations Center 
(SPOC). Its function was to implement 
SHAEF's control over Resistance groups in 
southern France. 4 

Meanwhile, the BCRA was continuing its 
relatively independent existence. With 
the approach of the cross-Channel oper- 
ation, the need was felt for more co-ordina- 
tion, not only between the Resistance 
groups and Allied agencies engaged in their 
support, but also between the activities 
themselves of the various agencies involved. 
As a preliminary step, on 6 June the Resist- 
ance forces, renamed officially Forces Fran- 
daises de 1'Interieur (FFI), or French 
Forces of the Interior, were placed under 
the command of Lt. Gen. Pierre Koenig, 
who was to operate directly under the com- 
mand of Supreme Headquarters, Allied Ex- 
peditionary Force. Two weeks later, at the 
insistence of the French, SHAEF approved 
the constitution of a tripartite headquarters 
and staff to co-ordinate all Allied activities 
in support of the FFI. The staff, called 
Etat-Major des Forces Franchises de 1'In- 
terieur (EMFFI), with headquarters in 
London and commanded by General Koe- 
nig, was composed of representatives from 
SFHQ, BCRA, SOE, OSS, and other 

'Msg B-270, Eisenhower to Marshall, 14 Mar 
44, ABC 400.3295 (2 Aug 43), Sec 2-A. 

' Memo, Wilson To All Concerned, 14 May 44, 
AFHQ History of Special Operations, Medi- 
terranean Theater, 1944-45, DRB AGO. 



INITIAL ASSISTANCE 



301 



agencies. Finally on 8 July, in anticipation 
of the launching of Anvil, the command of 
the FFI in southern France was vested in 
Maj. Gen. Gabriel Cochet under the su- 
preme command of General Wilson. 5 

American Contribution 

Before the establishment of SOE/SO 
(hereafter referred to as SFHQ) in the fall 
of 1943, the effort to arm the French Re- 
sistance had been solely British. Even for a 
short period afterward, the effort continued 
to be largely British. Except for three 
planes operating from North Africa, U.S. 
air force commands were reported to be 
unable to place the necessary aircraft and 
specially trained crews at the disposal of 
SFHQ. The sum total of Anglo-American 
assistance was still inadequate, this at a time 
when some 50,000 Frenchmen who had fled 
to mountainous and wooded areas were said 
to be organizing into Maquis, or guerrilla 
groups. With many thousands more ex- 
pected to join, it was imperative that Allied 
effort to supply them with arms and equip- 
ment be sharply increased. Already the 
men in the Maquis were reported to be 
growing impatient, even indignant at what 
they regarded as Allied unwillingness to 
keep promises. U.S. political representa- 
tives in Algiers were warning that the situ- 
ation was fraught with military, psychologi- 
cal, and political dangers. 6 

It was not until January 1 944 that, at the 
direction of the British Prime Minister, who 

8 The French Forces of the Interior, II, 425, copy 
in OCMH; Memo, Wilson To All Concerned, 8 Jul 
44, AFHQ History of Special Operations, 
Mediterranean Theater, 1944^5, DRB AGO. 

"Msgs, Edwin C. Wilson to Cordell Hull, 110, 
11 Jan 44, and 129, 12 Jan 44, and Memo, McGloy 
for OPD, 27 Jan 44, ABC 400.3295 {2 Aug 43), 
Sec 2-A. 



had just discussed the matter with General 
de Gaulle, substantial additional temporary 
British airlift was made available to SFHQ. 
By February the British were carrying out 
their commitment with the utmost vigor and 
were reported to be giving very high priority 
to the undertaking. 7 

In the meantime, the first American 
transport planes to be permanently assigned 
to SFHQ for operation from the United 
Kingdom had, in January 1944, begun to 
fly supply missions over northern France. 
Attempts by the chief of OSS, Brig. Gen. 
William J. Donovan, to get an increased 
allotment of American aircraft were unsuc- 
cessful. As the Combined Chiefs of Staff 
were informed in February, the U.S. Army 
Air Forces warned that it could not for the 
present divert any more airplanes to SFHQ. 
It could only authorize local air command- 
ers to use such aircraft as in their opinion 
could be spared for the purpose. 8 

By March the disproportion between the 
British and the American efforts was so 
great (approximately ten to one) that the 
impression was reported to be gaining 
credence among French officials in North 
Africa and in the United Kingdom that, 
not only was the undertaking an entirely 
British one, but the United States was even 
opposed to arming the French underground 
for political reasons. 9 Eager to counteract 
the unjustified comment being directed 
against the U.S. Government, the Secretary 
of State, Cordell Hull, sought the views of 
the U.S. Chiefs of Staff on the matter. On 
17 April General Marshall furnished Hull 

' Msg ML-382, Donovan, OSS, to Eaker, 11 Feb 
44, AFHQ 0100/12A G-3 Div Ops Bigot Fr. 

s Min, CCS 145th Mtg, 11 Feb 44; Memo, JPS 
for JCS, 13 Apr 44, ABC 400.3295 (2 Aug 43), 
Sec 2-A. 

' Memo, Cordell Hull for Leahy, 20 Mar 44, in 
same file. 



302 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



with information which, he hoped, would 
help in dispelling "any impression that may 
exist that the U.S. is less aware than the 
British of the potential importance of the 
French Resistance groups, and less willing 
than the British to utilize the very valuable 
aid the underground can render to our oper- 
ations." Marshall explained, first of all, 
that the committee organized in London by 
the Prime Minister was, according to Gen- 
eral Eisenhower himself, working "in full 
cooperation with and under the general 
supervision of" the Supreme Commander. 
As for the supplies dropped to French Re- 
sistance groups, they were, in a large part, 
furnished by the United States. General 
Marshall then reminded Secretary Hull that 
the United States had been engaged for 
some twelve months in equipping a French 
expeditionary force "comparable in size to 
our own peace-time army," an undertaking, 
he added, to which the British had made no 
substantial contribution. 10 

At the same time the French Committee 
of National Liberation had approached 
both the American and British Governments 
with the suggestion that a special confer- 
ence be held in London for the purpose of 
increasing further the flow of military 
equipment into France. The U.S. Chiefs 
of Staff seized the occasion to clarify the 
American position on the matter by point- 
ing out to the CCS that the special com- 
mittee already functioning in London ren- 
dered the French suggestion inopportune. 
Such was the substance of a message which, 
at the request of the JCS, the CCS ad- 
dressed to General Eisenhower on 24 April 
1944. 11 



u Memo, Marshall for Hull, 1 7 Apr 44, in same 
file. 

11 Msg FACS 18, CCS to Eisenhower, 24 Apr 44, 
in same file. 



It was then that a disquieting report 
reached Secretary Hull which quoted Gen- 
eral de Gaulle as having expressed, in the 
course of a press conference given in Algiers 
on 21 April, his satisfaction at British ef- 
forts to supply the Resistance, efforts which, 
he implied, were solely British. 12 Such a 
statement, in the opinion of the Secretary of 
State, could not remain unanswered. 13 Ap- 
prised of the incident, the JCS agreed with 
Hull's suggestion to draw the matter to the 
immediate attention of the responsible 
American military and civil authorities in 
Algiers and in London. In the belief that 
it could be more effectively handled at CCS 
level, JCS drafted a message for General de 
Gaulle and proposed to the representatives 
of the British Chiefs of Staff in Washington 
that it be delivered to him via General 
Wilson. 11 The communication, intended to 
clarify the apparent misunderstanding indi- 
cated by General de Gaulle's statement to 
the press, pointed out that the arming of 
the Resistance had, for some three months 
past, been a joint U.S.-British effort, not 
an exclusive one of either nation; that the 
materiel dropped in France was being drawn 
from a common pool; finally, that the entire 
operation itself was under the control of 
both the Supreme Commander, Allied Ex- 
peditionary Force, and the Supreme Allied 
Commander in the Mediterranean. This 
message, incidentally, never was sent. The 
British Chiefs of Staff having subsequently 
indicated informally that they did not in- 



12 The exact words of General de Gaulle were: 
"Je puis vous dire avec beaucoup de satisfaction 
que, depuis trois mois, les efforts de nos allies 
britanniques — car ce sont eux qui en ont le merite — 
pour armer la Resistance francaise ont ete grands 
et couronnes de succes." Text in de Gaulle, Dij- 
cours et Messages, p. 434. 

"Memo, Hull for Marshall, 26 Apr 44, ABC 
400.3295 (2 Aug 43 ), Sec 2-A. 

14 Memo, JCS for Hull, 29 May 44, in same file. 



INITIAL ASSISTANCE 



303 



tend to take any action on the issue, the 
JCS decided, in August, to withdraw their 
original proposal. 15 

General Eisenhower, meanwhile, had 
taken the matter in his own hands. In a 
message to the JCS dated 1 May, supple- 
mented by a personal letter to General 
Marshall, he reviewed the situation with 
respect to American material assistance to 
the Resistance forces. He recognized that, 
in the past, the effort had been predomi- 
nantly British since no U.S. aircraft had 
been made available for airlift to France 
until 1 January 1944, and only a very few 
thereafter. But the situation had changed 
considerably in recent weeks. Exclusive 
of aircraft operating from North Africa, 
the number of planes as then perma- 
nently allotted to SFHQ in the United 
Kingdom was 32 American as against 22 
British. The British, it was true, had 
made available to SFHQ supplementary 
airlift averaging approximately 65 aircraft 
per month since February. Plans were 
afoot to increase the permanent U.S. allot- 
ment by 25 aircraft. In addition. U.S. 
supplies were being drawn upon by SFHQ 
at an increasing rate. Given adequate 
personnel and means both in the United 
Kingdom and in North Africa, the United 
States would shortly be in a position to 
"equalize" its effort with that of the 
British. 16 

A few days later, General Devers, com- 
manding general of the U.S. forces in North 
Africa, likewise reported on the situation 
as it related to his theater. Judging from 
the figures he quoted in a message to Gen- 
eral Marshall, the American contribution 

16 CCS 492/4, 29 May 44, JCS Memo, 3 Jul 44, 
and other papers, in same file. 

""'Msgs S-51066, Eisenhower to JCS, 1 May 44, 
and S-51396, Eisenhower to Marshall, 6 May 44, 
in same file. 



in terms of tonnage of supplies delivered 
was still greatly inferior to that of the Brit- 
ish. But an improvement was in sight, for 
9 U.S. aircraft had just been added to the 
3 operating from that theater. 17 

A compilation of the data contained in 
the messages from Generals Eisenhower 
and Devers was immediately forwarded by 
General Marshall to President Roosevelt. 
The memorandum assured the President 
that the U.S. Chiefs of Staff had the matter 
"under continuing review" and that Gen- 
eral Eisenhower had advised that he would 
explain fully to the French in London the 
position of the U.S. Government in the 
matter. 18 

By mid-May the American effort had 
sharply increased and General Eisenhower 
was able to report that, under the current 
allotment of aircraft to SFHQ, the Ameri- 
cans could now deliver 1 60 tons a month as 
against 132 tons from the British. Fur- 
thermore, an additional allotment of U.S. 
aircraft, just granted, would make it pos- 
sible to raise the figure for the American 
effort to 280 tons by 1 July 1944. 19 That 
this was not wishful thinking, but a firm 
intent to expand American participation 
in the combined commitment, was amply 
substantiated by later events. 

Meanwhile, units of the French Forces 
of the Interior, particularly active since the 
beginning of the year, were redoubling 
preparations in anticipation of the forth- 
coming Allied landings. From 6 June, 
when Overlord was launched, to the end 
of July, the period of the battle in Nor- 
mandy, they embarked on large-scale 

17 Msg, Devers to Marshall, 5 May 44, CM-IN 
3917. 

18 Memo, Actg CofS for President, 8 May 44, 
ABC 400.3295 (2 Aug 43), Sec 2-A. 

"'Msg S-52023, Eisenhower to Marshall, 17 
May 44, SHAEF SGS 475/1, Vol. I, Policy. 



304 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



guerrilla and sabotage operations. To 
co-ordinate their effort with that of the 
assaulting Allied forces, assist further in 
their organization and supply, and 
strengthen their fighting potential, EMFFI 
dispatched to them by parachute, from the 
United Kingdom and North Africa, sev- 
eral thousand American, British, and 
French Commandos, liaison officers, and 
other troops. The Commandos included 
1 1 U.S. Operations Groups, each com- 
posed of 4 officers and 30 men, and the 
British Special Air Service (SAS) Brigade, 
of which two battalions were French — the 
2d and 3d Parachute Regiments. The 
liaison troops comprised some 90 three- 
men teams (called "Jedburgh" from the 
name of the small town in southern Scot- 
land), each composed of 1 American or 
British officer, 1 French officer, and 1 non- 
commissioned officer acting as signalman. 
Other personnel included individual agents 
(organizers, leaders, sabotage experts) and 
missions (command staffs, medical teams), 
all drawn from the ranks of the three 
nations. 

In some areas, the FFI acted spon- 
taneously and without sufficient co-ordina- 
tion with the Allied High Command. In 
southern France the revolt against the Ger- 
man forces gathered too much momentum 
to be checked. General Donovan feared 
that failure to support the FFI troops in 
that area on a sufficient scale to prevent 
their liquidation by the enemy would not 
only destroy a valuable military asset but 
produce unfavorable political repercus- 
sions. 20 With this in view, OSS arranged 
to have additional U.S. aircraft assigned 
for a mass daylight supply drop, the first 
such undertaking in the European Theater 

M Memo, Donovan for Marshall, 9 Jul 44, ABC 
400.3295 (2 Aug 43), Sec 2-A. 



of Operations. The venture, which took 
place on 25 June, was highly successful. 
Five combat wings of the 3d Bombardment 
Division, U.S. Eighth Air Force, represent- 
ing 180 bombers, delivered to some 20,000 
guerrillas scattered over four separate areas 
in southern France more than 300 tons of 
supplies, mostly American, all packed in 
some 2,000 American containers by per- 
sonnel in OSS packing stations. It had 
been a "100-percent- American show" and 
the Prime Minister was then urged to put 
on a similar British performance. A week 
later, General Donovan, writing to Gen- 
eral Marshall, prefaced his account of the 
operation as follows: "It is now possible to 
publicize our aid to the French Resistance 
and thus to cultivate for the U.S. the good 
will of the French people." The chief of 
OSS then voiced the belief that the daylight 
operation had been "a tremendous morale 
builder" and had generated gratitude from 
the FFI. One Maquis leader had ex- 
pressed his feelings in these words: "The 
Maquis' thanks to the U.S. Air Force for 
damned good show ! When is the next?" 21 
The next was to follow soon ; in fact it took 
place on 14 July, Bastille Day. It, too, 
was a 1 00-percent-American operation. 

On 22 July General Donovan summed up 
for the benefit of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff 
the American effort expended since 1 Jan- 
uary to assist the French Resistance. In 
addition to infiltrating about 70 U.S. agents, 
American planes had dropped all together 
some 6,000 containers and 2,000 packages 
packed by OSS, representing 1,000 tons 
gross weight of arms and equipment. 22 

By then, the FFI had grown by leaps and 

21 Ibid.; Rpt, OSS Opn Zebra, 24 Jul 44, in same 
file. 

" Memo, Donovan for JCS, 22 Jul 44, in same 
file. 



INITIAL ASSISTANCE 



305 




FRENCH FORCES OF THE INTERIOR at a staging area in southern England, 
about to receive American clothing and equipment before returning to duty in France, October 
1944. 



bounds to an approximate strength of 200,- 
000 men. Even with the limited arma- 
ment at their disposal, these men were 
rendering considerable assistance to the 
advancing Allied armies by fighting the 
enemy behind his own lines. They were 
blowing up bridges, cutting rail lines and 
wire communications, and setting up road- 
blocks and ambushes, all so effectively that 
enemy units, even armored divisions, were 
hopelessly cut off and, in the case of some, 
unable to reach the battle area in time or 
in a condition to fight. As both the War 
Department and the War Office were hav- 
ing difficulty in supplying equipment on a 



scale much larger than originally contem- 
plated, General Eisenhower requested and 
obtained from the CCS the authorization to 
issue to Resistance forces on a temporary 
basis captured enemy materiel, largely small 
arms. 23 

Throughout the summer, areas contain- 
ing the scattered groups of FFI were, one by 
one, overrun by the victorious Allied troops. 
By October, with most of France liberated, 
some 60,000-75,000 Maquis were still ac- 
tively engaged against the German pockets 

25 Msgs, SCAF 59, Eisenhower to CCS, 2 Aug 
44, and" FACS 56, CCS to Eisenhower, 15 Aug 
44, ABC 091.711 France (6 Oct 43), Sec 5. 



306 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



entrenched on the Atlantic coast, or were 
behind the front lines in eastern France. 
Supply of these groups continued to come 
from the United Kingdom until November 
when EMFFI, the Resistance headquarters 
in London, closed down. Meanwhile, the 
other "liberated" groups of FFI had for the 
most part chosen to continue the fight along- 
side the Allied armies and were being incor- 
porated either in the 1st French Army or in 
units organized by the French High Com- 
mand at the direction of SHAEF. From 
that point on, their rearming was but one 
aspect of the larger problem of equipping 
French liberated manpower. 24 For the part 
they had played in the liberation of their 
country, the FFI had paid heavily. The 
number of men and women killed in action 
or executed by the enemy up to October 
1944 has been estimated at 24,000. 25 

Employment of French Liberated 
Manpower 

The question of employing French liber- 
ated manpower against the Axis had come 
up for brief discussion just before the land- 
ings in North Africa. In October 1942 
first General de Gaulle, then General 
Giraud, anticipating an early Allied assault 
on continental France, had submitted pro- 
posals for raising troops on French soil and 
requests for armament. The Allies having 
chosen instead to land in North Africa, de 
Gaulle and Giraud devoted their efforts 
thereafter to rearming the forces available 
in that territory. For months afterward the 
Allies carefully avoided making any com- 

24 For partial list of equipme nt deliver ed by OSS 
to the French Resistance, see [Table 4.j 

85 Lt. Col. P. Santini, "Etude statistique sur les 
pertes au cours de la guerre 1939-1945," Revue 
du Corps de Sante Militaire, X, No. 1 (March, 
1954). 



mitments with respect to equipping a 
French continental army either upon the 
liberation of France or after victory was 
won. But as time passed it became evident 
that, sooner or later, they would have to face 
the problem of employing liberated man- 
power once an assault had been successfully 
launched on continental France. 28 

In August 1943 the U.S. Joint Staff 
Planners submitted a report on the general 
question of "equipping Allies, liberated 
forces and friendly neutrals." With regard 
to France, they pointed out that, for purely 
military and logistical reasons, no units 
formed from liberated manpower could be 
employed for from ten to thirteen months 
after an initial assault on continental 
France. They recommended that the 
equipping of liberated manpower be con- 
fined to forces required for garrison or 
guard duties and that no attempt be made 
to organize assault forces. Endorsing these 
recommendations, the CCS agreed that, for 
the present, the re-equipping of army units 
would be limited to the obligations of the 
North African rearmament program. 27 

Meanwhile, the Committee on Equip- 
ment for Patriot Forces had submitted a 
memorandum to the Combined Staff Plan- 
ners for examination and report to the CCS. 
The committee recommended that the 
equipment ordered for both Resistance 
groups and Patriot forces (the latter being 
defined as "forces which may be embodied 
in areas liberated by Allied armies to fight 
on the side of the UN" ) be pooled for allo- 
cation among countries in accordance with 
the strategic situation. The committee then 
pointed out that equipment requirements 

M Rpt, J PS to JGS, JCS 201/1, 20 Mar 43. See 
Idd. 12-131 above. 

"Rpt, JPS to JCS, CCS 317, 18 Aug 43, 
Quadrant Conf; Min, CCS 115th Mtg, 23 Aug 
43, Quadrant Conf. 



INITIAL ASSISTANCE 



307 



Table 4 — Quantities of Equipment Packaged by OSS in the United Kingdom and 
Airdropped into France: January-October 1944 " 



Type 



Quantity 



Weapons 

Bayonet, Ml, With Scabbard, M7 

Carbine, .30-caliber, US, Ml, With Sling, Oiler, and Magazine 

Carbine, .30-caliber, US, M1A1, With Sling---- ■= 

Gun, .45-caliber, Thompson, 1918A2, Submachine, Complete 

Gun, 9-mm., Marlin, Submachine 

Gun, .30-caliber, Machine, M1919A4, Aircooled, Complete 

Knife, Fighting, OSS 

Pistol, .45-caliber, M1911A1, Automatic, With Two Magazines 

Pistol, .32-caliber, Colt, Automatic 

Pistol, .22-caliber, Automatic, Various Makes 

Rifle, .30-caliber, US, Ml 

Rocket Launcher, 2.36-inch, M1A1, With Sling and MuzEle Deflector 
Rocket Launcher, 2.36-inch, Antitank, M9A1, Complete 

Ammunition (Cartridge Data in Rounds) 

.50-caliber Cartridge, Ball, in Metal Links 

.45-caliber Cartridge, Ball, Pistol, M1911 

.38-caliber Cartridge, Ball, Revolver 

9-mm. Cartridge, Ball, Parabellem 

.32-caliber Cartridge, Ball, Short Revolver 

■32-caliber Cartridge, Ball, Pistol 

.30-caliber Cartridge, Ball, M2 (Eight-Round Clips in Bandoleers) 

.30-caliber Cartridge, Ball, M2, MLB, Machine Gun, Tracer 9-1 

.30-caliber Cartridge, Ball, Carbine 

.22-caliber Cartridge, Ball, Long Rifle 

Cap, Blasting, Nonelectric __ 

Composition C (in Pounds) 

Cord, Detonating, PETN (in Feet) 

Rockets, HE, 2.36-inch, Antitank, M6A1 

Food and Clothing 

Cap, Wool, Olive Drab 

Jacket, Field, Wool, Olive Drab 

Ration K 

Ration X t 

Other Equipment 

Barrel, Spare, Marlin 

Belt, Web, Pistol 

Blanket, Wool, Olive Drab 

Bulb, Launcher, Rocket 

Container, Serial, Plastic 

Cosh, Spring 

Eyeshield, Ml 

Holster, Shoulder, Pistol, .32-caliber 

Kit, Cleaning Carbine 

Magazine, Assembly, Carbine, .30-caliber 

Magazine, Assembly, Double, Marlin. 

Magazine, Assembly, Single, Marlin 

Magazine, Pough, Assembly, Double, Marlin 

Magazine, Pough, Assembly, Single, Marlin 

Mount, Tripod, Machine Gun, .30-caliber, M2, 1919A4 

Sling, Gun, Marlin, Submachine L„. 

Truck, %-ton, 4x4 



1, 



IS 

16, 807 
498 
2 

2, 405 
3 

121 
15, 692 
14 
17 
56 
2, 266 
350 

25,000 
030,900 
4,000 
829,000 
350 
1,050 
10, 272 
81, 750 
403,500 
750 
294, 838 
323,029 
025,000 
43, 892 

94 
13,380 
10, 920 
10, 263 

240 
2,380 
19 

2,588 
5 
6 

2,588 
14 
8, 376 
63, 220 
4,800 
7,200 
2,400 
2,400 
10 
2,400 
2 



a Excludes equipment dropped into France by OSS-Algiers. 

Source: Statistics furnished by OSS-Paris, Nov 45, to Fr Gp, Hist Sec, ETOUSA. Copy in OCMH. 



308 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



for European countries had been formulated 
in London and that action had already been 
taken to allocate materiel for Patriot forces 
while continuous deliveries were being 
made to Resistance groups. 28 

Reviewing the various aspects of the 
problem on the basis of the findings and 
recommendations of the JPS and the Com- 
mittee on Equipment for Patriot Forces, 
the British Chiefs of Staff pointed out to the 
CCS that, in their opinion, there were three 
separate commitments to be considered: 
equipment to Allied forces and neutrals, 
equipment for forces useful in winning the 
war (Resistance groups and Patriot forces) , 
equipment for postwar armed forces. The 
last of these commitments, they explained, 
was being made the object of a study by the 
Post-Hostilities Planning Committee, also 
established in London. 29 There the matter 
rested for several months. 

In the meantime, French military au- 
thorities in North Africa were giving in- 
creased attention to the question of liberated 
manpower. Hampered as they were in 
their efforts to organize service and special- 
ized units by the lack of technicians in North 
Africa, they were heavily counting on this 
new source of manpower, which they ex- 
pected to be large, for the fulfillment of 
their commitments. Actually, they were re- 
lying on it also for the discharge of other 
obligations which they had set for them- 
selves : "to fight the Axis powers in Europe 
to the finish, to contribute to the occupa- 
tion of Axis territories and the maintenance 
of security in Europe, to assist in the war 
against Japan, and to restore French sover- 

28 Rpt, Committee on Equipment for Patriot 
Forces and Resistance Groups, 31 Aug 43, ABC 
400.3295 (2 Aug 43), Sec 1-A. 

28 Memo, COS for CCS, 12 Oct 43, ABC 400.- 
3295 (2 Aug 43), Sec 1-A. 



eignty to all territories of the French 
Union." In the belief that they could not 
carry out these commitments without addi- 
tional forces, they were contemplating a 
vast conscription program for the years 
1944 to 1946. In a memorandum ad- 
dressed to the War Department on 16 Octo- 
ber 1943, the National Defense Committee 
estimated that sufficient liberated man- 
power could be found to extend the 11- 
division North African program by the end 
of 1945 to 36 divisions (23 infantry, 10 
armored, and 3 airborne) with reserves and 
services, and to expand the air force to 
2,800 first-line aircraft. The committee 
then urged the War Department to consider 
without delay the assignment of the equip- 
ment necessary for the additional forces and 
for the rehabilitation of military establish- 
ments in France. 30 

On 20 October General Leyer for- 
warded, for inclusion in the U.S. Army 
Supply Program for 1944-45, requisitions 
for the 25 divisions to be raised from liber- 
ated manpower. A few days later, Gen- 
eral Bouscat, chief of staff of the French 
Air Force, submitted a detailed plan call- 
ing for the equipping of new air combat 
and auxiliary units during 1944, 1945, and 
the beginning of 1946. If the new pro- 
gram was much larger than the original 
Anfa Plan, General Bethouart explained 
to General Marshall, it was because of the 
will of the French people to make the maxi- 
mum contribution to the liberation of 
their country. 31 

The proposal was received by War 
Department officials with considerable 

30 Memo, National Defense Committee, 16 Oct 
43, ABC 091.711 France (6 Oct 43), Sec 1-A. 

" Memos, Bouscat for JAC and JRC, 2 Nov 43, 
and Leyer for JRC, 20 Oct 43, JRC Misc Doc, 
Item 5-b, Fr Liaison 5; Memo, Bethouart for 
Marshall, 30 Oct 43, ASF Planning Div Files. 



INITIAL ASSISTANCE 



skepticism, even some hostility,* 2 for it was 
being made at a time when the North 
African program itself appeared unattain- 
able in its entirety for lack of adequate man- 
power and was about to be re-examined 
with a view to scaling it downward. 
Moreover, AFHQ officials definitely frit 
that the CFLN was empowered to concern 
itself only with the North African forces 
and that some sort of an agreement must be 
reached at government level before plans 
for Metropolitan French forces could be 
considered. Both Generals Lever and 
Bouscat had been aware of this fact when 
they submitted their respective requisitions. 
They pointed out that neither the Joint 
Rearmament Committee nor the Joint Air 
Commission was in position to take any 
action until a decision of principle was 
reached on a governmental level. Wash- 
ington held the same view. Discussing 
the French proposal in a memorandum to 
the U.S. JCS, General Marshall expressed 
the opinion that the question of arming 
the French over and above the Akfa com- 
mitment was one of national policy. It 
involved such issues as the attitude of the 
U.S. Government toward the CFLN 
insofar as matters outside North Africa 
were concerned^ the attitude of the U.S. 
Government toward the rearmament of 
French units to be used in the present war, 
and, finally, the American policy on the 
establishment and maintenance of military 
forces by France after the war. These 
matters clearly were for the decision of the 

President/' 1 At General Marshall's sug- 


JZ From the chairman of the MAC (G) the pro- 
posal elicited a curt ''Nuts," which he penciled in 
the margin of a report on the proposed French 
plan addressed to him by the secretary. Memo, 
Secy MAC (G) for Chmn MAC (G), 27 Dec 43, 
ASF Planning Div Files. 

•"Memo, Marshall for JCS 7 2 Nov 43, ABC 
091711 (6 Oct 43), Sec 2-A. 



gestion, the French proposal was referred 
to the Joint Strategic Survey Committee 
for study and appropriate recommenda- 
tions to the JCS on which the latter might 
advise the President. 

In their report, the members of the Joint 
Strategic Survey Committee expressed the 
belief that the current North African re- 
armament program would enable the 
French to assist in the war against Germany 
to the full extent of their capabilities. They 
considered it undesirable at this time to 
promise an increase in armament for pur- 
poses other than winning the war in Europe. 
They recommended therefore that no ad- 
ditional U.S. military assistance and equip- 
ment be offered to the French beyond that 
already contemplated. 34 Endorsing this rec- 
ommendation, the JCS agreed that "gen- 
erally, except for minor readjustments from 
time to time to utilize trained French per- 
sonnel," the current program would not be 
extended, 

Theater officials greatly doubted that sub- 
stantial forces could be raised on French 
soil, as the Germans were draining the coun- 
try of able-bodied men for employment in 
Germany. They felt that no great expan- 
sion of the French forces coutd be contem- 
plated before the capitulation of the 
enemy." 1 

At the end of December 1943 the French 
military authorities, who had received no 
answer to their October proposal, instructed 
the chief of their Military Mission in Wash- 
ington t General Beynet, to query the War 
Department as to the intentions of the 
American Government on the matter. 
General Marshall could only assure General 

M Memo, JSSC for JCS, B Nov 43, in same file, 
* Memo, Timbrrlakc Med Air Camd for Deputy 

Theater Comdr, 7 Nov 43, JRC 907 Rearmt Plan, 

1944-45, 



310 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



Beynet that the desire of the French to par- 
ticipate in all phases of the operations in 
their homeland was fully appreciated and 
that it was planned to make the fullest pos- 
sible use of the French forces in this crucial 
phase of the war. 36 

Meanwhile, the CCS had referred to the 
Combined Staff Planners for study both the 
JPS 18 August memorandum recommend- 
ing that no attempt be made to organize 
assault forces from French liberated man- 
power and the British memorandum of 12 
October regarding the equipping of Resist- 
ance and Patriot forces. To enable the 
CPS to formulate plans for arming liberated 
manpower, the CCS requested General 
Eisenhower to determine the total number 
and breakdown by nationalities of the 
liberated manpower which he desired to 
have equipped. 37 On 9 March General 
Smith communicated to the CCS, on be- 
half of the Supreme Commander, a pro- 
posal for the employment of French and 
other western European liberated man- 
power. It was now assumed that a large 
reservoir of manpower, estimated for the 
French alone at five and a half million men, 
would become available. A study of what 
proportion of this manpower should be 
equipped had led to the following conclu- 
sions. Since a French task force was being 
equipped and trained in North Africa to 
take part in the defeat of the German land 
forces, the Supreme Commander's opera- 
tional requirement in liberated manpower 
did not extend beyond troops to relieve 
British and U.S. fighting forces from lines 
of communications duties and to gar- 
rison liberated territory for internal security 

38 Ltrs, Beynet to Marshall, 27 Dec 43, and Mar- 
shall to Beynet, 7 Jan 44, OPD 400 France, Sec III- 

^JSM 1426, CCS to Eisenhower, 16 Jan 44, 
ABC 400.3295 (2 Aug 43), Sec 1-A. 



reasons. The need was for units no larger 
than battalions, 175 (a total of 140,000 
men) to be raised by France, 40 by Holland 
and Belgium. It was essential that the 
arming of these battalions be completed by 
D plus 300. The figure of 140,000 men 
for France did not include members of Re- 
sistance groups whose equipment was the 
concern of SFHQ in London. Nor did it 
include mobile labor elements for which 
clothing was to be provided by the army 
group headquarters concerned, or static 
labor elements to be used for military and 
civil affairs purposes and whose equipment 
was to be furnished under a civil affairs 
plan. 38 

On 14 April the Combined Chiefs ap- 
proved General Eisenhower's proposal. 
They reached no decision, however, on the 
question of tables of organization and equip- 
ment, nor did they stipulate from what 
source, how, and when the necessary equip- 
ment was to be furnished. 38 

The plan reckoned without French views. 
These were made clear in May when Brig. 
Gen. Charles Noiret, chief of the French 
Military Mission in London, told SHAEF 
that the French military authorities were 
determined to reconstitute the metropolitan 
army, using members of the Resistance 
forces as cadres, and the existing territorial 
system for mobilization and administration. 
Their plan was first to muster available Re- 
sistance personnel into battalions or regi- 
ments for immediate participation in oper- 
ations alongside the Allied armies, later to 
convert these units into larger organizations. 
In the meantime they would mobilize and 
train several classes of young men and as- 
sign Territorial units made up of older 

'* Ltr, Smith to CCS, 9 Mar 44, in same file. 

"Min, CCS 155th Mtg, 14 Apr 44; Msg WX- 
25272, Marshall to Eisenhower, 19 Apr 44, ABC 
400.3295 (2 Aug 43), Sec 1-A. 



INITIAL ASSISTANCE 



311 



classes to lines of communications and in- 
ternal security duties. For reasons of 
morale, they considered it highly desirable 
that all this personnel be suitably equipped 
and armed as soon as practicable. General 
Noiret then proffered this warning— to use 
Resistance groups merely in the role pres- 
ently contemplated for them by Allied au- 
thorities and not as combatants was to risk 
serious repercussions. 40 

That the French were determined to re- 
build their metropolitan army was substan- 
tiated to some degree by reports received 
from North Africa. General Loomis, then 
chief of the JRC, had just expressed his 
suspicion that the unduly large requisitions 
currently being submitted to the JRC by 
the French military authorities in Algiers 
were intended for purposes other than the 
North African forces. It was quite possible 
that the French were desirous of building 
up stocks for use in continental France 
either for the civilian population or for new 
units to be organized there. 41 On the as- 
sumption that Allied planning included ade- 
quate provision for these purposes, General 
Loomis recommended that the French be 
advised accordingly so as to put an end to 
their "futile attempts" to obtain sup- 
plies which the JRC had no authority to 
provide. 42 

On 6 June the Anglo-American Allies 
entered France in the great Overlord at- 
tack still without any firm policy on the use 
of liberated manpower. A step toward 
compromise with the French desire for com- 
batant troops had been made in late May 
by a SHAEF suggestion to train French 
Commando and Ranger units soon after the 

10 Min, Confs with Fr Military Mission, 2 and 9 
May 4 4 SHAE F SGS 475 France, Vol. I. 
" See |p. 173,| above. 

"Memo, Loomis for GofS NATOUSA, 17 Apr 
44, JRC 902/1 Rearmt Plan. 



beginning of operations. These would use 
only a small number of men and would 
require only light equipment.* 3 The 
French, however, had not agreed to this 
proposal. No concrete plan meanwhile 
had been made to provide equipment for 
the security and labor units authorized by 
the CCS. The Supreme Commander had 
only the assurance of the British Chiefs of 
Staff, given on 1 1 May, that they would 
make every effort to place at his disposal 
British and U.S. equipment in sufficient 
quantities. 44 

General Eisenhower, on 1 3 June, urgently 
asked the CCS for a policy decision. He 
pointed out that western European Allies 
were contemplating the reconstitution of 
their national armies and submitting re- 
quirements ranging, in some instances, 
"from musical instruments to heavy equip- 
ment." It was "not impossible," he ex- 
plained, "that Governments of the U.N. 
might cloak their desire for large post-war 
armies by pleading that they want to give 
maximum assistance to Overlord." From 
an operational point of view, he did not 
consider it necessary to arm and equip any 
forces beyond those already authorized for 
security and garrison duties, and the forces 
required for various types of labor. None- 
theless, it might be necessary, in order to 
satisfy the French, to equip a few Com- 
mando-type units for immediate action. It 
might also be desirable to form French 
training centers in the United Kingdom 
where liberated manpower might train, 
under French arrangements, to become re- 
inforcements for the units raised in North 



" Memos, Lt Gen A. E. Grasett for SHAEF G-3, 
21 May 44, and Lt Col M. D. Molloy for Chief 
Plans and Opns Sec G-3, 25 May 44, SHAEF G-3 
091 France, Vol. I. 

" Memo, COS for SAC, 1 1 May 44, SHAEF SGS 
475/1, Vol. I, Policy. 



312 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



Africa. SHAEF needed an early statement 
of policy on which to base its answer to the 
proposals submitted by the various military 
missions concerned. 45 

It soon became evident that the conces- 
sion which General Eisenhower was willing 
to make to the French would not satisfy 
their ambitions. Writing to General Mar- 
shall on 14 June, General Bethouart, then 
Chief of Staff of National Defense, reaf- 
firmed the desire of his government to enlist 
in the Army, once they had been cleared 
and screened, all able-bodied men, whether 
or not they had been enrolled in the Re- 
sistance forces. This, he explained, was the 
best way to avoid internal disorder and to 
provide the strongest possible support to 
Allied military action. 46 General 
Bethouart's memorandum having been 
communicated to the CCS, the latter re- 
ferred it to General Eisenhower for com- 
ment on which to base a reply. Speaking 
for the Supreme Commander, General 
Smith pointed out on 27 June that General 
Eisenhower, while fully conscious of the 
valuable assistance rendered to his opera- 
tions by the Resistance forces, had made it 
clear to the French that his operational 
needs must take priority over any reconsti- 
tution of the French Army. In this con- 
nection, General Eisenhower wished to re- 
mind the CCS that he had referred to them 
for decision the whole question of the re- 
constitution and arming of national armies 
of liberated Allies. Lack of guidance from 
them was proving embarrassing to him in 
his discussions with the various Allied mili- 
tary missions. A firm decision on the mat- 
ter was urgently required. 47 

" Msg SCAF 51, Eisenhower to CCS, 13 Jun 44, 
OPD Cable Files. 

* Memo, Bethouart for Marshall, 14 Jun 44, 
SHAEF SGS 475 France, Vol. I. 

"Ltr, Smith to CCS, 27 Jun 44, ABC 091.711 
France (6 Oct 43), Sec 5. 



On 8 July General Bethouart, who had 
accompanied General de Gaulle to Wash- 
ington, called on a number of War Depart- 
ment officials. The purpose of these visits 
was to renew the requests submitted some 
nine months earlier by the National Defense 
Committee for equipment to arm an addi- 
tional 25 divisions and to expand the air 
force before the end of 1945. With the 
liberation of France under way, the govern- 
ment, he declared to General Marshall, 
wished to increase the size of the Army in 
proportion to the liberation of the territory 
itself. Bethouart then handed the director 
of the International Division, ASF, an ar- 
mament program calling for the equipping, 
initially, of 30 infantry battalions, 72 artil- 
lery batteries, 3 tank battalions, and other 
miscellaneous units. All these units would 
be formed with some 100,000 men from the 
Resistance and would constitute the nucleus 
of 1 armored, 1 airborne, and 3 infantry 
divisions. On the same date General 
Bethouart requested of General Arnold, 
chief of the U.S. Army Air Forces, the equip- 
ment to arm 25 combat squadrons in addi- 
tion to the units already re-equipped under 
the North African program. 48 

Both proposals were immediately ex- 
amined in the light of equipment availability 
and of other commitments. After a pre- 
liminary conference between officers of the 
French Military Mission and representatives 
of International Division, ASF, Maj. Gen. 
LeRoy Lutes, director of Plans and Opera- 
tions, ASF, expressed the belief that the 

18 Memo, National Defense Committee, 16 Oct 
43, ABC 091.711 France (6 Oct 43), Sec 1-A; 
Memo, Bethouart for Marshall, 6 Jul 44, ABC 
091.711 France (6 Oct 43), Sec 5; Memo, Fr 
Military Mission for Director International Div 
ASF, 8 Jul 44, ASF Planning Div Files; and Msg 
WX-62001, Arnold to Eaker, 8 Jul 44, JRC Cable 
Log. 



INITIAL ASSISTANCE 



313 



materiel for the 5 divisions could be made 
available with some exceptions. 40 Before 
taking any action, both Generals Arnold 
and Marshall sought the views of theater 
officials on the matter. 

General Eaker promptly informed Gen- 
eral Arnold that, in his opinion, it would be 
a grave error to allow the French in Wash- 
ington to present an air rearmament plan 
and obtain its approval without full theater 
concurrence. He doubted that the French 
High Command could furnish at an early 
date the men to form the contemplated 
units. "We must insist that they show us 
definitely a manpower capacity for another 
unit before we authorize and equip it." 50 

General Eaker's skepticism confirmed the 
impression which General Marshall had al- 
ready gathered from information available 
to him. In asking Generals Devers and 
Eisenhower to comment on the latest French 
proposals, Marshall expressed his own views. 
It was doubtful whether French Resistance 
groups and other liberated personnel would 
provide sufficient effectives to furnish re- 
placements for 1st French Army, to make 
up for shortages of supporting troops, to 
activate security and lines of communica- 
tions battalions, and to organize new com- 
bat units as well. However, since the Re- 
sistance forces were reported to be effective 
not only in guerrilla action but in large- 
scale operations as well, it might be desirable 
to consider the possibility of organizing them 
forthwith into combat units. Meanwhile, 
other available liberated personnel would be 
utilized to form replacements, security bat- 
talions, and noncombat units. It might be 
practicable to start with a program of mod- 
est proportions and build up toward the 

" Memo, Lutes for ACofS OPD WD, 8 Jul 44, 
OPD Exec 10, Item 52-E. 

M Msg M-23957, Eaker to Arnold, 8 Jul 44, ABC 
091.711 France (6 Oct 43), Sec 2-A. 



total indicated in the French proposals, de- 
pending on manpower availability and op- 
erational developments. Such a course of 
action would mean greater strength for 
Overlord and would help to eliminate any 
shortage of combat troops on the Western 
Front which might occur should the war 
continue to the middle of 1945. The mat- 
ter of equipment would depend on whether 
or not the decision was made to form addi- 
tional U.S. divisions and on operational re- 
quirements as currently estimated. Mate- 
riel for new French units would be drawn 
from the strategic reserve. On the present 
commitments, it would be possible to equip 
at least some of the five divisions proposed 
by the French for activation in 1944. The 
arming of these units would, of course, be 
handled in the same way as that of the di- 
visions re-equipped under the North 
African program. 51 

The first to answer General Marshall's 
query was General Devers. The French, 
he explained, had shown a marked aptitude 
for organizing and training combat units 
and had demonstrated their "outstanding 
ability in combat." But, because of their 
slowness in organizing supporting combat 
and service units, it had been necessary to 
place U.S. troops of this type at their dis- 
posal on an appreciable scale to ensure their 
success. The French proposal therefore 
was not consonant with current policy. 
The rearmament program was designed to 
equip an expeditionary force for operations 
on the Continent and not to furnish sup- 
plies for liberated areas in France nor to 
build up a postwar French army. 52 Yet, 
Devers admitted, a true appreciation of 
French capabilities and limitations "dic- 

51 Msg WX-62685, Marshall to Eisenhower and 
Devers, 9 Jul 44, OPD Cable Files. 

62 Msg FX-70274, Devers to Marshall, 9 Jul 44, 
AFHQ 0100/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Fr Equip. 



314 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



tated" that Resistance troops be organized 
and equipped by the most expeditious 
means possible into small combat units, 
ultimately divisions, so as to enable them to 
continue to fight in a more efficient manner. 
Such a course of action would necessitate 
that supporting combat and service require- 
ments be met from other sources, most 
likely American. Furthermore, to reduce 
supply problems, it would probably be ad- 
visable to equip and maintain the new units 
through U.S. base sections. In conclusion, 
General Devers recommended that the 
150,000-200,000 Frenchmen expected to 
become available in AFHQ's zone of re- 
sponsibility be employed, in order of prior- 
ity: ( 1 ) to establish a replacement pool 
sufficient to carry the North African units 
through the rest of 1944, (2) to make up 
for the existing shortages of French support- 
ing combat and service troops currently 
estimated at 60,000 men, ( 3 ) then and only 
then, to organize one infantry division (the 
sixth on the North African program but 
never activated) and one armored division 
(the fourth likewise on the program but 
deferred indefinitely). 53 

General Eisenhower, in his answer to 
General Marshall's query, first restated his 
own requirements in French liberated man- 
power, namely, essential labor units and 
internal security and lines of communica- 
tions troops. The Supreme Commander 
then recommended that manpower avail- 
able over and above his requirements be 
used in combat units on the assumption that 
the war in Europe "might continue well 
into 1945" and in the light of the fact that 
the French themselves were eager to have 

" Memo, Devers for Marshall, 1 1 Jul 44, AFHQ 
01 00/1 2C G-3 Div Ops Fr Rearmt, Vol. II; Msg 
BX-13549, Devers to Marshall, 11 Jul 44, OPD 
Exec. 10, Item 52-E. 



units fighting alongside British and U.S. 
troops in northern France. He did not 
consider it advisable, as suggested by Gen- 
eral Marshall, to organize the Resistance 
forces into combat units. While excellent 
in a guerrilla role in their own native area, 
they were likely to be ineffective if engaged 
in combat alongside U.S. or French regular 
units in a strange territory. In fact they 
could become an administrative encum- 
brance. The most advantageous manner 
of using this "prolific and first-rate source 
of manpower" was to take the best of them 
for recruits and form the remainder, al- 
ready armed, into internal security and lines 
of communications units. In conclusion 
he recommended that French liberated 
manpower be employed, in order of pri- 
ority : ( 1 ) to fill requirements of the Su- 
preme Commander, Allied Expeditionary 
Force; (2) to fill requirements of the Su- 
preme Allied Commander, Mediterranean; 
(3 ) to activate three divisions, two in south- 
ern France and one in northern France, 
complete with administrative and service 
elements, for use in European operations in 
1945; and (4) to form a limited number 
of Ranger or Commando-type units to be 
quickly trained in the United Kingdom. 
The organization of these smaller units 
would, he believed, satisfy French eagerness 
to participate fully in the European 
campaign. 04 

By this time War Department officials 
were convinced that the question of the use 
of French liberated manpower was becom- 
ing entirely too complex and, as pointed out 
in a memorandum from OPD to the Joint 
Logistics Committee (JLC), "would have 
to be tied together in order to be handled 

"Msg FWD 12414, Eisenhower to Marshall, 18 
Jul 44, AFHQ 0100/26 Liaison Sec LX 320, Order 
of Battle. 



INITIAL ASSISTANCE 



315 



intelligently." The recent communications 
from Generals Eisenhower, Devers, and 
Eaker, letters from Generals Bethouart and 
de Gaulle, a talk by General Donovan be- 
fore the JLC in which he had urged that 
Resistance groups be issued heavy equip- 
ment, each had stressed one phase or 
another of the problem and often expressed 
conflicting views. To arrive at some sound 
solution, General Marshall directed that all 
papers, radios, and letters be turned over to 
the JLC for a comprehensive study of the 
most effective use of liberated manpower. 
He emphasized that the committee was to 
give no consideration to the development of 
a postwar French army but was to proceed 
on the assumption that only those troops 
should be equipped and armed which could 
participate in the war at an early date. 55 

Most eager to see some sort of a decision 
reached on the matter were, of course, the 
French themselves. On the ground that the 
"reorganization of the metropolitan army" 
was already raising a considerable number 
of problems, General Noiret proposed, on 1 
August, to attach to SHAEF the Rearma- 
ment Section of his staff headed by Colonel 
Chanson, who in the past had dealt with 
similar problems in connection with the 
North African rearmament operations. A 
few days later General Noiret and represent- 
atives of SHAEF reached an agreement on 
the division of responsibility between 
SHAEF and French headquarters in the 
United Kingdom for handling problems 
arising in connection with liberated man- 
power, such as availability and allocation 
of personnel, submission of requisitions, and 
distribution of materiel. 56 

55 Memo, Brig Gen Patrick H. Tansey for JLC, 
20 Jul 44, ABC 091.711 France (6 Oct 43), Sec 
2-A. 

M Memos, Noiret for SHAEF, 1 Aug 44, and 
Whiteley for Noiret, 9 Aug 44, SHAEF G-3 091 
France, Vol. II. 



On 2 August 1944 the CCS finally took 
action on the matter of the reconstitution 
and equipping of armies of liberated na- 
tions. They communicated to General 
Eisenhower, who had been waiting since 
1 3 June, a policy statement to guide him in 
his discussions with Allied military missions. 
The statement merely confirmed their 
earlier decision authorizing the formation of 
security units totaling not more than 172,- 
000 men for western Europe (140,000 for 
the French). 57 It shed no light on the 
subject of labor units (not included in the 
172,000-man ceiling) or of French combat 
units. It simply directed the Supreme 
Commander to inform Allied military mis- 
sions that any requests from them con- 
sidered by him to include, in effect, require- 
ments for postwar armies, should be taken 
up "as between governments and not on the 
military level." Moreover, the statement 
provided no clue on the question of the 
provision of equipment. 

With operations in progress on the Con- 
tinent, the Supreme Commander was eager 
to proceed with the organization of the labor 
and security units necessary for the conduct 
of the war. The question of the provision 
of equipment needed to be settled without 
further delay. Yet the CCS still had not 
given any indication as to what proportion 
of the equipment required was to come from 
U.S. and what from British sources. In a 
memorandum to the British Chiefs of Staff, 
dated 8 August, General Smith urged that, 
pending a CCS decision on the matter, the 
requirements of the British 21 Army Group 
for mobile labor units and internal security 
units, as well as the requirements of the U.S. 
forces for internal security up to D plus 90, 
be met from British sources, that is, from 

" Msg FACS 49, CCS to Eisenhower, 2 Aug 44, 
ABC 400.3295 (2 Aug 43), Sec 1-A. 



316 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



stocks held by the War Office for liberated 
manpower. The War Office replied that 
the equipment requested would be released 
at once except for some items that were un- 
available. However, the release would be 
made on the assumption that the figure of 
172,000 (140,000 for the French) repre- 
sented both security and labor units. If 
the Supreme Commander wished to in- 
crease the total beyond 172,000 in order to 
include labor units, he was advised to put 
the necessary proposals up to the CCS. 58 

On 9 August General Eisenhower in- 
formed the War Department that his com- 
bined requirements for static and mobile 
French civilian labor units were estimated 
at between 140,000 by D plus 60 and 468,- 
000 by D plus 240. These units were over 
and above the 175 French battalions au- 
thorized earlier in April by the CCS for 
assignment to internal security and lines of 
communications duties. New, additional 
requirements were for the Garde Mobile 
(about 6,000 men) , abolished by Vichy but 
whose reorganization he considered neces- 
sary, the Gendarmerie ( approximately 1 0,- 
000 men), and fire-fighting personnel 
(2,500 men). Also, it was intended to 
form another French Special Air Service 
(SAS) parachute battalion (in addition to 
the two activated earlier in the United 
Kingdom) for service behind enemy lines, 
and two Ranger battalions. The formation 
of these three units was essential in view of 
the attitude of the French. "While they are 
anxious to assist us to the greatest degree, 
they must for morale reasons be given an 
opportunity to fight." These several re- 
quirements concerned only the French. 
There were other Allies to consider. It was 



M Memos, Smith for COS, 8 Aug 44, and COS 
1425/4, Office of War Cabinet for CofS SHAEF, 
15 Aug 44, SHAEF SGS 475 France, Vol. I. 



imperative, then, that an early decision be 
reached on the question of allocation of 
responsibility for equipping all the units in- 
volved. Most of these were operationally 
required and none could be raised in the 
absence of a directive from the CCS. 58 

Such was the situation as Anvil got under 
way on 15 August. Already large groups 
of Frenchmen, including Resistance units, 
had been liberated as a result of the prog- 
ress of Overlord. No commitment had 
yet been made regarding their employment 
other than the formation of security and 
lines of communications units. Even for 
these, the question of equipment had not 
been settled. 

It was difficult to see how the French lib- 
erated manpower question could be solved 
to the satisfaction of the three allies con- 
cerned considering the conclusions each had 
reached on the matter after months of ne- 
gotiations. 

For the French military authorities in 
Algiers, liberated manpower could be best 
used by enrolling it without delay in new 
combat units. They had already completed 
plans to this effect and were about to sub- 
mit appropriate requisitions. On 16 Au- 
gust, just as the first North African divisions 
were landing on the beaches near St. Tro- 
pez, General Leyer asked the JRC what 
Allied agency would examine and process 
the requisitions. General Loomis could 
only reply that the CCS had the whole ques- 
tion of employment of Allied liberated man- 
power under consideration. 60 

For the British Chiefs of Staff, the ques- 
tion involved not only the immediate ful- 
fillment of the Supreme Commander's re- 

58 Msg FWD 12731, Eisenhower to AGWAR, 9 
Aug 44, OPD Exec 10, Item 52-E. 

60 Memos, Leyer for Loomis, 16 Aug 44, and 
Loomis for Leyer, 18 Aug 44, JRC 320/001 Orgn 
of JRC. 



INITIAL ASSISTANCE 



317 



quirements, but, in view of the French posi- 
tion on the matter, the early building up of 
a nucleus of forces to assist in the occupation 
of Germany. Such a concession would, in 
their opinion, make the French more 
"amenable" to the wishes of the Supreme 
Commander and appease their understand- 
able desire to organize more than internal 
security troops and Commandos. 01 On 22 
August they broached the subject in a mem- 
orandum to the CCS. The British, they 
explained, desired strongly that the western 
European Allies have forces available for 
use in the period immediately following the 
cessation of hostilities in Europe and after 
the resumption of effective control by in- 
digenous governments. Such forces would 
be required for the maintenance of internal 
security within the Allied territories con- 
cerned. In addition, by contributing to the 
occupation of Germany, they would assist in 
alleviating the British manpower situation 
and permit the United Kingdom to play a 
greater role in the war against Japan. As 
for their equipping, the British Chiefs of 
Staff considered it highly undesirable that 
the French or any other European Allies 
adopt a policy of accepting arms of enemy 
make as this could lead to a continued de- 
mand for spare parts, replacements, and 
ammunition. In their opinion, the respon- 
sibility for arming the forces in question 
should be divided as follows: pending the 
re-establishment of French industry, a 
"clearly military desirable" objective in it- 
self, the United States would undertake to 
furnish the French with the needed equip- 
ment; the equipping of other western Allies 
would remain a British commitment. 
These proposals, they emphasized, were put 
forward on "purely military grounds," their 

"Memo Washington COS (W) 180, COS for 
JSM, 19 Aug 44, SHAEF SGS 475 France, Vol. I. 



belief being that it was "in the vital strate- 
gic interest of both the U.S. and U.K. that 
the forces of our Western Allies should be 
closely integrated with our own." They 
estimated that the size of the French con- 
tingents required for the occupation of Ger- 
many would be eight divisions at the end of 
twenty-four months. 82 

For the Americans, the urgent question, 
as emphasized by a report just published by 
the JLC, was not the organization of post- 
armistice armies, but the best and most ex- 
peditious possible employment of liberated 
manpower during the current hostilities in 
Europe. Armed forces formed from liber- 
ated manpower in excess of those authorized 
for operations in the sphere of the Supreme 
Commander were, in effect, postwar armies 
which should be the subject of agreement 
between the governments concerned. 63 
Commenting on the British Chiefs of Staff 
memorandum of 22 August to the CCS, 
General Handy, Assistant Chief of Staff, 
OPD, voiced the opinion that their pro- 
posal was a purely postwar matter and urged 
the U.S. Chiefs of Staff to approach it care- 
fully and to make no commitment without 
the approval of the President. 04 

On 29 August the U.S. Chiefs of Staff 
submitted to the CCS a long memorandum 
( CCS 66 1 ) setting forth their latest views 
and recommendations. Ruling out the or- 
ganization of forces over and above the re- 
quirements of the Supreme Commander as 
being postwar armies, they proposed that 
both he and General Wilson, the Supreme 
Allied Commander in the Mediterranean, 

m Memo, COS for CCS, CCS 653, 22 Aug 44, 
ABC 400.3295 (2 Aug 43), Sec 1-A. 

93 Rpt, JLC 140/3, 16 Aug 44, ABC 091.711 
France (6 Oct 43), Sec 2-B. 

"Note, Handy, 23 Aug 44, ABC 400.3295 (2 
Aug 43), Sec 1-A. 



318 



REARMING THE FRENCH 



be asked to determine, on the basis of op- 
erational considerations, the priorities for 
the use of French liberated manpower 
within their respective areas. Any new 
combat units organized by them would be 
equipped by the United States. Internal 
security battalions, on the other hand, would 
be equipped by the United Kingdom. Tak- 
ing into consideration the desire of the 
French for a more active part in the fight- 
ing, the U.S. Chiefs of Staff then recom- 
mended the formation of new combat units 
not exceeding, for both theaters, 27 infan- 
try battalions, 9 105-mm. artillery battal- 
ions, and three engineer combat battalions, 
all to be put in action as speedily as possible. 
Only such units should be re-equipped 
which were "essential